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Lawsuit Could Block GHG Emission Regs in New Mexico

emissions-5Local utilities, businesses and three state legislators filed a joint lawsuit to challenge the authority of the  state’s Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in New Mexico, reports New Mexico Business Weekly.

New Energy Economy had filed a petition in December 2008 asking the EIB to unilaterally adopt emissions regulations in New Mexico that would be stricter than caps proposed in federal legislation, reports New Mexico Business Weekly.

The plaintiffs want the court to prohibit the EIB from acting on New Energy Economy’s proposal, arguing that the EIB has not been given authority by the New Mexico Legislature to consider rules or regulations related to greenhouse gas emissions, according to the group’s press release, reports New Mexico Business Weekly.

The EIB lacks authority under state law to adopt air quality regulations without first establishing applicable air quality standards, and neither the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nor the state have adopted an air quality standard for greenhouse gases, according to the group.

In addition, the group said the proposal would hurt the state’s economy, place the state at a competitive disadvantage and increase costs for residents and employers, including manufacturers, the agriculture industry, universities, military bases, mineral processing operations, small oil and gas producers, and utilities.

Lawsuit participants include three state legislators, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Dairy Producers of New Mexico, El Paso Electric, the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau and the New Mexico Petroleum Marketers Association.

New Energy Economy executive director John Fogarty said in a press release that the lawsuit has no merit because the New Mexico legislature created the EIB to be responsible for the promulgation of rules and standards for food protection, safe water supply, air quality management, and to avoid public nuisances.

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