Albuquerque Journal: Polluters Don’t Make Case With Facts

January 2011

By Mariel Nanasi
Executive Director, New Energy Economy

Here they go again. Just days into her new administration, Gov. Susana Martinez and New Mexico’s largest carbon polluters are clamoring to repeal New Mexico’s recently adopted carbon pollution reduction rules with the tired, ideological claim that these rules are somehow vaguely “anti-business.”

Let me be absolutely clear on three basic points. Energy jobs are good jobs for New Mexico’s families and communities. The carbon pollution reduction rules New Energy Economy put forward were carefully crafted to encourage job growth and business activity in the state, particularly in the energy sector. Our efforts to enact these rules have been successful because they are based on the best available economic, technical and scientific facts.

If Martinez, PNM, the Koch brothers and other major polluters have new, credible information about how reducing pollution harms the economy, then the families, communities and businesses in New Mexico deserve to see these new facts. The economic, technical and scientific facts supporting the carbon reduction rules were objective and presented by highly credible experts.

These facts are available for public scrutiny in the Statement of Reasons issued in support of the rule adoption order. (Document available at www.newenergyeconomy.org)

New Mexico’s new carbon pollution reduction rules provide numerous economic incentives for the impacted businesses to figure out the best way for them to reduce their carbon pollution. Carbon polluters that use technology, ingenuity and their competitive spirit to comply with the rules will create more jobs, bring more advanced technology to New Mexico and grow the state’s energy sector. By acting now we will unleash the ingenuity of New Mexicans in developing the technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce more clean energy. Global demand for these technologies is growing rapidly.

The opponents of pollution reduction, innovation and job creation claim New Mexico’s new rules will bring unbearable costs down on the state’s businesses, yet they have provided no objective evidence to support this claim. The only credible estimates around these hypothetical economic costs, presented in public, are less than 1 percent of current energy costs. Again, if Martinez and PNM have new cost estimates attributable to the carbon pollution reduction rules, the public deserves to see them.

While the costs implied by New Mexico’s new carbon pollution reduction rules are minimal and dwarfed by the resulting economic gains, the real and potential costs attributable to global warming are enormous and grow exponentially over time. No credible authorities, or Fortune 500 companies for that matter, question the economic costs and risks posed by climate change.

Instead of presenting substantiated evidence on the factual impact of New Mexico’s carbon reduction rules, the Koch brothers and other major polluters keep obscuring the facts and repeating outdated political ideology. PNM, the state’s largest carbon polluter, has wasted millions of dollars, collected from the utility bills of hard working families and businesses across New Mexico, litigating against New Energy Economy and other advocates pushing for pollution reduction, economic growth and job creation. Despite this huge waste of money, PNM has lost every legal challenge to the state’s new carbon reduction rules.

Now, PNM is whining to public authorities for another major rate hike to pay for PNM’s own poor management, lack of investment foresight and insistence on racking up enormous fines for violating pollution laws. Why won’t PNM stop wasting money on spurious litigation and backroom deals that harm consumers and businesses? Why won’t PNM start leading and investing in the future of New Mexico’s clean energy economy?

Beyond the positive impact the new carbon reduction rules will have on the economy as a whole, the new rules will add powerful momentum to New Mexico’s burgeoning renewable energy sector where the state has world class solar and wind energy resources ripe for exploitation. New Mexico has become a major energy state by leveraging its natural resources with ingenuity and hard work. New Mexico can continue this winning formula by taking the lead in renewable energy innovation and development. I encourage Martinez to analyze the economic, scientific and health facts and start building a 21st century energy economy in New Mexico.

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