A Clovis Senate lawmakerâ€™s legislation that would prevent new restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions imposed by the stateâ€™s Environmental Improvement Board from taking effect, made progress Tuesday in the Senate Conservation Committee.
Sen. Clin ton Hardenâ€™s, RClovis, SB489 seeks to amend a section of the Air Quality Control Act by limiting the EIB from adopting rules that are â€œmore stringent than federal law or regulation for reporting, verifying, limiting, trading or capping the emission of greenhouse gasses,â€ according to the legislation.
The proposal would effectively prevent the EIBâ€™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 â€œstraight forward piece of legislation.â€ â€œI think this particular piece of legislation is a very common sense approach to dealing with the situation,â€ Harden said. â€œIt simply says we will not adopt any rules that … are more stringent than the federal governmentâ€™s.â€
The bill is slated to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where other legislative attempts at blocking the EIBâ€™s rules have been shot down this session. Hardenâ€™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.
â€œThe states that continue to innovate and act early on climate change will benefit economically from early action credits when the federal government eventually acts,â€ stated the groupâ€™s executive director, Sandy Buffett, in an e-mail. â€œBecause we support more jobs, greater security, less drought and less pollution, we oppose this bill,â€ she wrote.
The group touts a recent report from Sandia National Laboratories that indicates that costs from climate- change damage to the stateâ€™s economy could cost New Mexico between $13 billion and $26 billion in GDP loss over the next 40 years.