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December 08, 2010

New Mexico Makes Strides on Emissions

NM sign As international delegates continue to discuss climate change in Cancun this week, one US state has taken matters into its own hands. On December 6th, New Mexico's Environmental Improvement Board voted to adopt a plan in which businesses that produce over 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually will reduce emissions 3 percent per year starting in 2012. The ambitious plan sets a goal for the state to bring its emission levels 25% below carbon rates in 1990. 

The history of this new measure is relatively unprecedented in that it evolved from a proposal submitted by a regional non-profit called New Energy Economy. The plan overcame significant obstacles, including a lawsuit backed by the fossil-fuel industry that questioned the Environmental Improvement Board's right to regulate emissions. Attorneys from the New Mexico Environmental Law Center successfully argued in favor of the plan by relying on testimony from concerned citizens such as a doctor from the New Mexico Pediatric Society.

Despite the plan's ambitious goals for the future, it faces one major hurdle. New Mexico's recently-elected governor, Republican Susanna Martinez, has the power to appoint members of the Environmental Improvement Board and probably will not be supportive of a measure that calls for business to reduce its impact. Still, according to CleanTechnica it could take up to a year for a newly constituted board to fully overturn the historic measure. 

-- Max Huber


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