Press Release: EIB President Refuses Recusal Despite Questions of Impartiality

October 2011

The president of the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB), Deborah Peacock, has refused to recuse herself from an upcoming hearing despite the fact that she held closed door meetings with corporations the EIB is charged to regulate on behalf of the public interest. Peacock held closed door meetings, ex parte communications in legal terms, with representatives of PNM and other corporations who want the EIB to repeal the state’s landmark carbon pollution reduction law. PNM’s appeal to repeal the law will be heard by the EIB later this year. Two EIB members, James Casciano and Greg Fulfer, agreed to recuse themselves from the upcoming hearing because they had previously testified against the carbon reduction law and thus could not claim to judge the law impartially.

“While we welcome the recusal of EIB members Casciano and Fulfer, we strongly disagree with the decision of EIB chair Peacock to participate in this upcoming hearing,” said Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director of New Energy Economy. ‘The rule of law and basic fairness require that regulators cannot make back room deals with the corporations they regulate. There is a disturbing pattern within the Martinez administration of bending the rules to accommodate special interests at the expense of the public interest.”

“Ms. Peacock, the EIB Board chair, engaged in private discussions with the entities she is supposed to be regulating. That led directly to the fact and purpose of these proceedings. Any litigator would feel that the dye is cast and the outcome is certain,” said Bruce Frederick, attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, who has represented New Energy Economy in the two-year public process that led to the creation of New Mexico’s landmark carbon reduction law.

The carbon pollution reduction law requires facilities that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon pollution per year to reduce these emissions by 3 percent per year from 2010 levels starting in 2013. The law has been lauded by national experts for its capacity to improve New Mexico’s energy security by means of predictability, market-based mechanisms and extensive compliance flexibility. An economic analysis released in February indicated the carbon pollution reduction law has the potential to add 17,500 family-supporting jobs in New Mexico’s electric sector and add more than $2 billion in total added economic value to New Mexico’s families and businesses.

About New Energy Economy

New Energy Economy is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization established in 2004 to create economic opportunity in New Mexico with less carbon pollution and more clean energy. New Energy Economy works in partnership with diverse allies to encourage job growth, investment and innovation in a more efficient, sustainable and equitable energy sector. New Energy Economy grounds its work in the research and findings of the world’s leading scientific and technological authorities. Learn more at www.newenergyeconomy.org

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