By Tracy Dingmann
Did anyone else find the Albuquerque Journal’s description of the state Environmental Improvement Board as “seven people appointed by a governor” rather jarring?
The description appeared Feb. 20 in an editorial called “Board Overreaching On Global Warming.” The editorial took the position that it “shouldn’t be up to a relatively obscure, appointed board in New Mexico to solve global warming, especially when Congress has yet to decide on how to address that issue nationally.”
The editorial follows a Feb. 7 news story that gives inordinate space to critics of the EIB’s mission generally and each of its current members specifically. I wrote about that story last week. The critics included close Journal allies Terri Cole of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, oilman Harvey Yates of the State Republican Party and discredited Journal columnist Marita Noon of the Citizen’s Alliance for Responsible Energy, all of whom complained that the board is stacked with environmentalists and shouldn’t have the right to help decide the state’s environmental policy.
The news story notes that the EIB is responsible for setting statewide regulations enforced by the Environment Department concerning environmental and consumer protection, and for hearing appeals on department decisions.
At the same time, it poses key issues regarding the EIB’s legitimacy as if they are questions whose answers have yet to be determined. From the story:
Simmering below that debate are questions over whether the kind of sweeping change proposed should be up to duly elected legislators instead of an appointed board, and whether there is an unfair environmentalist tilt to the board.
That’s why I thought it was so interesting that the Journal’s editorial Saturday following up on the news story described the EIB as merely “seven people appointed by the governor.”
It seems to me that completely glosses over what happened last week at the legislature, as the Senate roundly rejected Gov. Richardson’s nomination of Neri Holguin, an environmental advocate and political consultant from Albuquerque.
Clearly, the legislature holds sway over the Environmental Improvement Board – no one gets on there unless legislators say so.
Seems like the Journal is ignoring that fact.
And it seems to me that the Journal has gone ahead and answered all those questions it was asking about the legitimacy and makeup of the EIB, too.