By Tracy Dingmann
A bill that would bar the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board from making any greenhouse gas rules that are more stringent than federal law is making its way through Senate committees.
The bill, SB 489, sponsored by Clinton Harden, (R-Clovis), would not reverse the two carbon cap proposals that were approved in the waning days of the Richardson Administration. Those proposals drew strong opposition from the oil and gas industry and from Gov. Susana Martinez, who vowed during her campaign to reverse them if elected governor.
(A few weeks ago, Clearly New Mexico learned that Gov. Martinez had appointed a Small Business-Friendly task force filled with representatives of the oil and gas industry and other large corporate interests to evaluate regulations like the carbon caps. The group made it clear that rolling back regulations was their number one priority, and discussed a number of strategies to accomplish this that included legislation, executive orders, and other tactics.)
Though SB 489 wouldn’t reverse the current caps, it would severely hamper New Mexico’s ability to protect its environment in the future, opponents say.