Today, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center filed a petition in New Mexico Supreme Court against Gov. Susana Martinez for halting the printing of the greenhouse gas cap regulation approved by the Environmental Improvement Board in December.
"The Governor's administration has acted illegally," NMELC Executive Director Douglas Meiklejohn tells SFR. "We are trying to remedy that."
After a two-year scoping process that included input from industry and the public, the state's Environmental Improvement Board approved New Energy Economy's proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New Mexico by 3 percent per year, starting in 2012. (Click here for a pdf of the final regulation.)
On Jan. 4, Martinez dismissed all members of the EIB and released the following statement:
“Unfortunately, the majority of EIB members have made it clear that they are more interested in advancing political ideology than implementing common-sense policies that balance economic growth with responsible stewardship in New Mexico. As a result, I have notified members of the board that, effective immediately, their services are no longer needed. Should any members of the board wish to reapply for appointment, I will consider their qualifications on a case-by-case basis.”
But her attempts to halt the rule the EIB approved may be curtailed. According to Meiklejohn, state law requires all rules to be published in the state register--action Martinez has refused to take.
"In order to be effective, a rule has to be printed," Meiklejohn explains. But whether an approved rule is printed is not up to the governor; it's the law. Nor, Meiklejohn says, can Martinez singlehandedly repeal it.
"The Environmental Improvement Board can effectively dismantle the rule--but in order to do that, the Environmental Improvement Board would have to go through the same process it went through to adopt the rule," Meiklejohn says. In this case, that could mean another two years of hearings and discussions.
Martinez' office did not immediately return a call requesting comment.