|Group Files Suit Challenging N.M. Environmental Improvement Board's Authority to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions|
|Wednesday, 13 January 2010 00:00|
Lovington, NM – A diverse group comprised of New Mexico legislators, businesses, agriculture interests and energy consumers has filed a lawsuit in state court to challenge an effort by New Energy Economy, Inc., to have the state’s Environmental Improvement Board adopt regulations to require New Mexico to unilaterally cap greenhouse gas emissions from sources in the state.
The complaint seeks a judgment from the court establishing that the EIB lacks authority under New Mexico law to impose a cap on greenhouse gases, and asks the court to order the EIB not to conduct further administrative proceedings on the NEE proposal.
The suit was filed in the Fifth Judicial District of the State of New Mexico in Lea County by State Senator Carroll Leavell, State Senator Gay Kernan, State Representative Donald Bratton, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Dairy Producers of New Mexico, El Paso Electric Company, New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association, PNM, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc., New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau and New Mexico Petroleum Marketers Association.
In late 2008, NEE filed a rulemaking petition with the EIB seeking to have the state board adopt a statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions that is significantly more restrictive than proposals being considered by the U.S. Congress.
Greenhouse gas emissions are a national and global policy issue, and Congress is considering legislation that would include a single set of regulations for all states. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also is addressing greenhouse gas emissions. NEE’s effort, which would only apply in New Mexico, would damage the state’s already beleaguered economy, place the state at a competitive disadvantage and significantly increase costs for New Mexico residents and employers, including manufacturers, the agriculture industry, universities, military bases, mineral processing operations, small oil and gas producers, and utilities.
Under the state’s Environmental Improvement Act and Air Quality Control Act, the New Mexico legislature delegates authority to the EIB to adopt regulations and standards in a number of environmental management programs.
The legislature has not granted the EIB the authority to consider rules or regulations to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as proposed in the NEE petition. The EIB lacks authority under state law to adopt air quality regulations without first establishing the applicable air quality standards.
Neither the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nor the state have adopted an air quality standard for greenhouse gases. With no national or state air quality standard, the EIB cannot impose a unilateral cap on greenhouse emission in New Mexico.
Dairy Producers of New Mexico: Sharon Lombardi
El Paso Electric Company: Teresa Souza
New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau: Pat Woods
New Mexico Oil and Gas Association: Deborah Seligman
New Mexico Petroleum Marketers Association: Ruben Baca
New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association: Keven Groenewold
PNM: Don Brown
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.: Jim Van Someren