Press Release: Regrettably, PNM Wins at the Expense of New Mexicans’ Health, Economy

March 2012

New Energy Economy will defend New Mexico’s landmark carbon pollution law against Martinez’s Environment Improvement Board (EIB) and against her campaign contributors, polluters, including the state’s largest utility, PNM. Despite the fact that carbon reduction law has been praised by economists, business leaders, energy security experts, environmental advocates and doctors, the EIB voted to repeal the law. Public support for the law has surged across the state. But Big Coal and Big Oil are short-sighted and won this round. “Polluters have spent so much money tying this carbon reduction rule in legal knots. And they finally succeeded in orchestrating a sham process that has them profiting at the expense of New Mexican families and businesses,” said Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director, New Energy Economy.

New Energy Economy petitioned the EIB in 2008, the first and only citizen’s action of its kind – to cap harmful carbon pollution and protect New Mexico’s clean air and water – and two years later after fighting off legal maneuvers and a million dollars worth of obstruction by the wealthiest polluters – a law to reduce toxic pollution was adopted. The law was economically feasible. The law promoted energy independence and energy security. The law was good for New Mexican businesses and families. But, ultimately, NOT for Governor Martinez’s Wall Street shareholders. And that’s why her hand-picked board defeated the law.

In their rush to cash in on their political capital, PNM and the other opponents have tied New Mexico’s administrative and legal processes in such tight knots that it will only come undoneonce a court sincerely confronts what is at stake: climate change regulations that mandates the shift from coal to a clean energy economy. If deferred, our children will bear the economic and moral burden of sickness and environmental destruction, and forestall an opportunity to stimulate a new energy economy.

“Cutting carbon pollution was a chance for New Mexico to lead, to do what our young people need us to do today for their future, their air and water, their health. Instead, Martinez’s EIB parroted industry claims — to keep coal pollution spewing at the expense of New Mexicans,” said Nanasi.

The writing was on the wall; there is no surprise with today’s decision. EIB members Gregory Fulfer and James Casciano testified against the law, were chosen for their predisposition and then tainted the process. EIB Chair Deborah Peacock met behind closed doors with PNM and other corporations to plan out the repeal “process.” The necessity for the rule didn’t change, just the politics. The process has been arbitrary and capricious and a testament to money’s control over politics. “Poisonous toxins pour from the coal plant smokestacks every day; responsible government would put a stop to that, but Martinez’s EIB has been hijacked by special interests,” said Nanasi. Regrettably, these convoluted legal maneuverings reduce public confidence, adversely impact public health and are incredibly costly.

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