Press Release: New Energy Economy Files Motion to Disqualify EIB

July 2011

Contact: Mariel Nanasi 505-469-4060


New Energy Economy Files Motion to Disqualify EIB

Regulators’ Collusion with PNM and Industry Evidences Bias and Predisposition

 

Santa Fe – New Energy Economy filed a motion today in Governor Martinez’s Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) that seeks to disqualify the EIB members for ex parte (secret) agreements between them and major polluters, led by the state’s largest utility, Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), who seek to repeal the state’s carbon pollution reduction law. New Energy Economy’s motion was triggered by joint legal documents by PNM and the EIB in the New Mexico Court of Appeals. The Joint Motion provides that PNM and EIB “agree that further proceedings before the [Environmental Improvement] Board may resolve [PNM’s] appeal.” Additionally, PNM in its argument before the NM Supreme Court conceded that there were private discussions between the EIB and PNM and other regulated entities. PNM refused to reveal the contents of these discussions when questioned by Supreme Court Justice Bosson “Who was there to defend the rule?” PNM’s attorney asserted that the discussions were confidential.

“The fix is in with Governor Martinez’s EIB to dismantle the carbon pollution reduction law,” said Mariel Nanasi, New Energy Economy’s Executive Director. “PNM is rightfully worried that a straight up hearing with impartial arbiters won’t simply change the law. The carbon pollution reduction rule is based on economic and scientific facts that protect New Mexico families and businesses. Rather than sweetheart deals, PNM and the Governor should save the exorbitant legal fees, invest in clean energy and put people back to work.”

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center filed the motion today on behalf of New Energy Economy. “I’ve never seen such overt shameless collusion between an agency and the regulated entities it purports to regulate,” said Bruce Frederick, Attorney for New Energy Economy.

Ex parte communications with the EIB members and the hearing officers are strictly forbidden, and EIB members whose “impartiality or fairness may reasonably be questioned” must recuse themselves. § 20.1.1.112 NMAC and § 20.1.1.111 NMAC. (Also see, Open Meetings Act) “I heard Governor Martinez repeatedly call for ‘open and transparent’ government, but the very first Board she appointed is meeting behind closed doors with polluters to the exclusion of the public. How is that kosher?,” Nanasi said.

In addition to PNM, parties listed in the legal filings as opposed to the law include the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Independent Petroleum Association, El Paso Electric and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.

New Energy Economy and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center led a two-year public process that led to the creation of New Mexico’s landmark carbon reduction law. The rule 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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