Bill would limit EIB regs

March 3, 2011 • Local News

A Clovis Senate lawmaker’s legislation that would prevent new restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions imposed by the state’s Environmental Improvement Board from taking effect, made progress Tuesday in the Senate Conservation Committee.

Sen. Clin[auth] ton Harden’s, RClovis, SB489 seeks to amend a section of the Air Quality Control Act by limiting the EIB from adopting rules that are “more stringent than federal law or regulation for reporting, verifying, limiting, trading or capping the emission of greenhouse gasses,” according to the legislation.

The proposal would effectively prevent the EIB’s new regulations aimed at curbing emissions from coalfired power plants, refineries and other large polluters from taking effect.

The lawmaker calls his proposal a “straight forward piece of legislation.” “I think this particular piece of legislation is a very common sense approach to dealing with the situation,” Harden said. “It simply says we will not adopt any rules that … are more stringent than the federal government’s.”

The bill is slated to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where other legislative attempts at blocking the EIB’s rules have been shot down this session. Harden’s proposal is being opposed by an environmental lobbying group, Conservation Voters New Mexico, which says its implementation would put New Mexicans at a disadvantage.

“The states that continue to innovate and act early on climate change will benefit economically from early action credits when the federal government eventually acts,” stated the group’s executive director, Sandy Buffett, in an e-mail. “Because we support more jobs, greater security, less drought and less pollution, we oppose this bill,” she wrote.

The group touts a recent report from Sandia National Laboratories that indicates that costs from climate- change damage to the state’s economy could cost New Mexico between $13 billion and $26 billion in GDP loss over the next 40 years.

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