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Monday, August 16, 2010

8/16: Public Hearings Before NM EIB Resume on Petition to Cap Greenhouse Emissions

Today, the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) continues public hearings on a petition to set a cap on the state’s overall greenhouse gas emissions. The petition was filed by New Energy Economy and 16 other organizations representing medical professionals, indigenous groups, rural interests, faith-based groups, clean energy advocates and environmental interests. More than 350 diverse businesses across New Mexico also support the petition to regulate emissions.

On June 7, In a unanimous decision, the New Mexico Supreme Court gave the green light for New Energy Economy’s Petition to cap greenhouse gas pollution to proceed. The ruling overturned a lower court decision to stop the process based on a lawsuit by PNM, Sen. Carroll Leavell (R-Jal), Sen. Gay Kernan (R-Hobbs), state Rep. Donald Bratton (R-Hobbs) and oil and gas industry groups to halt consideration of a cap, arguing that the state doesn't have the authority to issue rules to regulate air quality at this time.

Setting a statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions will spur New Mexico’s clean energy economy, create thousands of new jobs and improve the prosperity, health and welfare of current and future residents, according to supporters. They say New Mexico is poised to be a national leader in renewable energy production and manufacturing, while aggressively addressing the real challenge of climate change.

The hearings begin today, Monday, Aug. 16, 2010, at 11:00 AM at the PERA Building located at 33 Plaza La Prensa in Santa Fe with public testimony scheduled for 7:00 to 8:00 PM. Hearings continue through the week, from 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM PM, with public testimony heard in the last hour each day.

New Mexicans from a variety of backgrounds have already gone on the record in support of the proposed cap.

“Because rural New Mexico is where much of renewable energy development will occur, enacting a carbon cap in New Mexico would help tremendously to improve the health and welfare of our rural Latino and Native American communities,” said Arturo Sandoval, founder of the Center of Southwest Culture in Albuquerque, in a written statement. “I am sure the rural communities, who have long relied on agriculture, will benefit even more than our larger communities.”

“We see this proposed cap as a way to help protect the rancher’s way of life, our land and our water from industries that have for too long had their way at the expense of everyone else,” said Tweeti Blancett, a rancher from Aztec, N.M. “As ranchers who truly care for the land, if this cap will help bring in more clean energy industries that won’t pollute our ranches, and the jobs to help our rural economies, then we’re all for it.”

“Passing this carbon cap would be a major economic benefit to local, independent businesses, especially for our renewable energy industries,” said Vicki Pozzebon, executive director of the Santa Fe Alliance. “In doing so it would also provide for much greater community prosperity while also improving the health and environment for New Mexico communities.”

“This proposed cap aligns with our business model of building super-efficient, net-zero-energy homes, designed to save consumers money while greatly reducing their carbon footprint,” said Faren Dancer of Sundancer Creations Custom Builders. “As chair of the Santa Fe Green Building Council, I see this proposal as providing businesses the impetus to compete within our rapidly expanding green economy.

Express Yourself
The public can testify on the proposed rules at this week's hearings in Santa Fe, as noted above, as well as at other meetings around the state. Check out the EIB website for more information on the proposed rules, as well as opportunities to weigh in on their merits. You can also register your support for the petition at the New Energy Economy website. Answers to some frequently asked questions about the petition can be found here.

The New Energy Economy coalition consists of the NM Pediatric Society, League of Women Voters NM, Sierra Club – Rio Grande Chapter, Western Resource Advocates, NM Physicians for Social Responsibility New Mexico Conference of Churches, Amigos Bravos, Center Advancing Sustainable Architecture (CASA), Center of Southwest Culture, Inc., Earth Care International, NM Interfaith Power and Light, Santa Fe Alliance, TEWA Women United, Southwest Organizing Project, Drilling Mora County and VAWT Power.

August 16, 2010 at 09:53 AM in Climate, Energy, Environment, Events, Green Economy, Regulation | Permalink


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