New Mexicans support repeal of costly state GHG cap-and-trade rules

Representatives of New Mexico’s electric cooperatives on Nov. 8 delivered petitions with the signatures of 16,875 citizens urging the repeal of state greenhouse gas rules. Resolutions from cooperatives, local governments and school districts also support the repeal.

Billy Tate, Farmers Electric Cooperative, and Chuck Pinson, president of NMRECA and general manager of Central Valley Electric Cooperative, display petitions with the signatures of 16,875 citizens in support of repealing New Mexico’s state greenhouse gas rules.

Supporters delivered the petitions to the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) on the first day of public hearings regarding the repeal of the rules.

In late 2010, the EIB approved state rules requiring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in New Mexico. However, a required economic analysis of the rules’ effects on New Mexico’s economy, job growth and electricity rates was not completed prior to the approval.

The rules carry a major cost for New Mexicans without providing environmental benefits. The rules also would cost New Mexico jobs at the very time when consumers can least afford another economic setback.

The New Mexico EIB is currently considering repealing these rules. The EIB held its first public hearings in Santa Fe on Nov. 8-9.

On day one, 18 parties testified during the hearing in support of the repeal with none in opposition. Providing public comments were representatives from the state’s electric co-ops, Association of Commerce and Industry of New Mexico and Clovis Chamber of Commerce, as well as a number of area citizens. Additionally, Tri-State Escalante Station employees Chock Black, Tim Hoisington, Tim Lujan and Brian Tychener offered comments.

An economic analysis of the cap-and-trade rule completed since the rules’ passing found its costs far outweigh the insignificant reductions in greenhouse gases. Specifically, the analysis found the rule would:

  • Reduce New Mexico’s economic output by $828 million to $1.6 billion through 2030
  • Reduce New Mexico job creation by 649 to 1,736 workers by 2020
  • Reduce global greenhouse gas emissions annually by two to six thousandths of one percent (0.002 – 0.006%)
Tri-State’s Barbara Walz, senior vice president of external affairs and member relations (far left), provides comments during Tuesday’s hearing.

New Mexico’s electric cooperatives support the repeal of these rules as part of their efforts to maintain access to affordable and reliable electricity. Electric consumers from across the state have rallied around the cooperatives’ “Keep Electricity Affordable” campaign.

“These 16,875 signatures send a clear message to the New Mexico EIB,” said Charles Pinson, president of the board of directors of the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association. “New Mexicans want affordable, reliable electricity that powers job growth. Last year’s EIB rules would do just the opposite, reducing jobs and punishing the state’s economy without making a difference in emissions.”

Resolutions also were submitted from several electric cooperatives, business groups, the Curry County and Rio Arriba boards of county commissioners and the Espanola and Jemez Mountains school districts.

The hearing, as well as the public comment period, will resume on Tuesday, Nov. 15.


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