Emissons Cap Decision Expected Today

Mar 16, 2012

The state Environmental Improvement Board will decide the fate of a rule that aims to reduce carbon emissions from large polluters.

The rule, adopted under the previous administration, would force polluters like coal-fired power plants and refineries to reduce their emissions by three percent a year, starting next year.

Mariel Nanasi is with New Energy Economy, the nonprofit that petitioned for the cap.  She says given that  Governor Susana Martinez has actively campaigned against the rule and replaced the entire EIB with members friendly to the oil and gas industry, the writing is on the wall.

"It would be highly unusual if this all added up to them saving the carbon reduction rule," she says

Public utility company PNM is among those pushing for a repeal.  Spokesman Don Brown says the company agrees carbon emissions should be reduced, but says it's an issue that should be tackled on a federal, not state level.

"The question is how you achieve carbon reductions that are meaningful environmentally, and also affordable for customers."

PNM has long contended that the rule would mean rate increases for customers. 

But New Energy Economy has argued that the increases would be minimal and far outweighed by jobs created in the green sector.

If the rule is repealed, advocates say they will continue their case in court.