AP via Daily Reporter: Environmental Groups Seek to Intervene in Utility’s Appeal of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rules

April 2011

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Several groups filed motions with the New Mexico Court of Appeals on Wednesday to intervene in an electric utility’s appeal of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions regulations.

Public Service Company of New Mexico is appealing the approval of the regulations last fall by the state Environmental Improvement Board.

The regulations encompass the state’s plan for participating in a regional cap and trade program, as well as a statewide cap of greenhouse gas emissions that was initially proposed by the environmental group New Energy Economy.

New Energy Economy is among the groups seeking to intervene in the case.

The groups are concerned because the Environmental Improvement Board — which is made up of new members appointed by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez after she took office in January — has indicated that it opposes the groups’ intervention in the legal battle.

New Energy Economy executive director Mariel Nanasi contends the regulations were adopted based on scientific and economic merits and should not be repealed.

“It is clear that Martinez’s EIB has an ideological bias against the carbon pollution reduction rules and has prejudged the merits of this important public policy,” she said.

Martinez has repeatedly voiced her opposition to what she describes as a “cap-and-tax” policy.

Martinez, PNM, other utilities and industry groups have complained that the regulations will harm the state’s economy and result in higher electricity costs for consumers.

The rules were among those targeted as part of a review done by a small business task force appointed by Martinez in January. The task force recommended in its report released earlier this month that the rules be revisited and that the state adopt no rules or regulations more stringent than what’s imposed by the federal government.

The greenhouse gas regulations were approved by the board after it heard days of public and expert testimony.

The regulations aim to curb emissions from large polluters such as coal-fired power plants and refineries.

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