Democracy for New Mexico: New Energy Economy Seeks to Intervene in PNM Appeals of NM’s Landmark Carbon Pollution Rules

April 2011

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) says it filed motions today on behalf of New Energy Economy to intervene in two pending appeals filed by PNM against the Environmental Improvement Board’s (EIB) adoption of the state’s carbon reduction rules. PNM is appealing both the New Mexico Environment Department’s cap and trade rule, and New Energy Economy’s greenhouse gas cap rule — both adopted last year.

Governor Susana Martinez is on record as adamantly opposing greenhouse gas regulation and, citing the adoption of these regulations, the Governor fired all of the former EIB members on her first day of office. According to NMELC, the new, Martinez-appointed, EIB met behind closed doors with its attorney and has decided to actively oppose New Energy Economy’s intervention in the pending appeals.

Payback to Major Polluters?
“We are asking the Court to allow us to intervene in the appeals because the EIB is now aligned with PNM and the other opponents of greenhouse gas regulation,” said New Mexico Environmental Law Center attorney, Bruce Frederick. “As a result, the Board may not effectively defend the Rule or protect our interests, or the public’s interests.

“The carbon pollution reduction rules were adopted based on their scientific and economic merits,” said Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director of New Energy Economy, “and they should not be repealed as payback for campaign contributions from major polluters. 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.”

Three-Year Effort
New Energy Economy and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center have led the three-year effort that saw the carbon pollution reduction rule adopted in 2010 and maintained in the face of administrative and legislative efforts to repeal it.

PNM’s efforts to stop or repeal the carbon pollution reduction rule have previously been rejected by the New Mexico Supreme Court and the former EIB. A previous attempt by the Martinez administration to stop publication of the rule was ruled unlawful by the state Supreme Court in January. The carbon reduction rule also survived the 2011 legislative session intact despite the introduction of seven bills to repeal or undermine it.

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