Albuquerque Journal: High Court Considers NEE Request

July 2011

By Michael Hartranft

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear New Energy Economy’s case to intervene in an appeal filed by Public Service Company of New Mexico challenging a greenhouse-gas emissions reduction rule adopted by the state Environmental Improvement Board last year.

NEE was the group that petitioned for the rule, which would require large emitters of carbon pollution to reduce emissions by 3 percent a year from 2010 base levels. But the Court of Appeals ruled it could not participate in the appeal.

“The Supreme Court did not have to take (the appeals court ruling), but they did take it up, and we’re happy they did,” said attorney Bruce Frederick of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, which petitioned the high court for a review of the ruling on NEE’s behalf. He said the appeals court held there was no authority to let NEE intervene, “which is just absolutely not true.”

Given PNM’s opposition to the rule and a new board with members appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez, who opposes the measure, NEE’s participation “is essential,” Frederick said.

The high court decided on Wednesday to hear the case, giving parties until July 11 to respond to the NEE petition. It could make a ruling based on the responses or could also hear oral arguments, he said.

The NEE rule would take effect in 2013 if the state hasn’t implemented a cap-and-trade rule, also adopted in 2010, to reduce emissions. PNM contends the rules would increase energy costs, endanger jobs and place the state at an economic disadvantage while doing little to fight climate change.

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