Albuquerque Journal: High Court Upholds Returning Emissions Rules to EIB

July 2011

By Michael Hartranft

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday let stand an appeals court ruling sending controversial greenhouse gas emissions rules back to the Environmental Improvement Board for reconsideration.

“We’re pleased with the court’s decision to see if this can be resolved through the EIB process rather than through the courts,” said Don Brown, spokesman for Public Service Company of New Mexico, one of the industry groups and other opponents that petitioned the board to repeal cap and trade rule and emissions cap rules adopted in 2010.

But the high court also granted a motion by New Energy Economy, the chief proponent of the cap measure, to intervene in appeals of the rule filed in the Court of Appeals. It said while the appellate court has authority to remand the case to the EIB, the group has the right as an intervenor to ask the court to reconsider its decision.

NEE had asked the Supreme Court to rescind the appeals court ruling, arguing there was apparent collusion between PNM and the board in meeting and then the EIB agreeing to hear a petition to repeal.

It’s likely NEE will ask the Court of Appeals to reconsider the remand order, Executive Director Mariel Nanasi. She said her group will oppose the industry request for a hearing by the board on Monday.

NEE argued its participation in the appeal was important, contending the only parties in the case were opponents and a board made up of appointees of Gov. Susana Martinez, who also opposes the rule. Appointees of former Gov. Bill Richardson approved the rule.

“The court’s decision upholds the rule of law against special interests and their lobbyists,” Nanasi said in a statement.

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