Albuquerque Journal: Emission Rules Back At EIB

July 2011

By Michael Hartranft

Public Service Company of New Mexico, gas and oil groups and other opponents of greenhouse gas emissions rules adopted last year have petitioned the Environmental Improvement Board to repeal them.

They were passed by a board appointed by Gov. Bill Richardson and repeal will be considered by one appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez.

The groups will ask the board Aug 1. to hold a hearing, set a date and appoint a hearing officer, acting EIB administrator Felicia Orth said.

Opponents appealed to the Court of Appeals shortly after their adoption.

“The parties to the appeal had a court-sanction mediation in June,” PNM spokesman Don Brown said. “Out of that we jointly requested the court send it back to the EIB. The parties agreed we might be able to work out a resolution there rather than in the courts.”

The court remanded the cases to the board Tuesday.

The petitioners want the EIB to overturn two measures promulgated under Richardson: a cap-and-trade rule developed by the state Environment Department and a cap-only rule proposed by the environmental group, New Energy Economy.

They also seek the repeal of related reporting and verification rules adopted with the measures.

Martinez, who opposes the rules, appointed new members to the board shortly after taking office in January.

The cap-and-trade rule would require large emitters to cut emissions by 2 percent a year starting in 2012 and contemplates New Mexico’s participation in a regional program. Those unable to achieve the reductions could obtain allowances or offsets from other sources.

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