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Governor drops green rules; Martinez halts emissions regulations

Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is making good on campaign promises to drop new regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions as well as other controversial rules passed in the waning days of the previous administration. ...The order also directs agencies to review rules and regulations that are in place and determine which ones should be scrapped to improve economic development and job growth.

ALBUQUERQUE - Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is making good on campaign promises to drop new regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions as well as other controversial rules passed in the waning days of the previous administration.

Officials at the state Environment Department have requested to keep the greenhouse gas reduction rules, as well as new pollution-control measures aimed at the dairy industry, from being published in upcoming editions of the register.

Without publication, the rules will not take effect.

John Martinez, director of the state Administrative Law Division at the state records center, confirmed Wednesday he had received the requests, that the rule filings in each case were canceled and that the rules would not be published.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Albert Lama said late Wednesday his office was working with the records center to answer legal questions surrounding the matter and to determine what the next course should be.

The move by the Martinez administration is being criticized by environmental groups and lawyers who spent the past two years debating the merits of the rules before the state Environmental Improvement Board and the Water Quality Control... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

ALBUQUERQUE - Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is making good on campaign promises to drop new regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions as well as other controversial rules passed in the waning days of the previous administration.

Officials at the state Environment Department have requested to keep the greenhouse gas reduction rules, as well as new pollution-control measures aimed at the dairy industry, from being published in upcoming editions of the register.

Without publication, the rules will not take effect.

John Martinez, director of the state Administrative Law Division at the state records center, confirmed Wednesday he had received the requests, that the rule filings in each case were canceled and that the rules would not be published.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Albert Lama said late Wednesday his office was working with the records center to answer legal questions surrounding the matter and to determine what the next course should be.

The move by the Martinez administration is being criticized by environmental groups and lawyers who spent the past two years debating the merits of the rules before the state Environmental Improvement Board and the Water Quality Control Commission. Both panels endured days of public and expert testimony and had to review thousands of pages of documents before making their decisions.

The critics contend the administration is circumventing the law.

"In order to change an existing rule you have to go through the same process that you went through to adopt the rule. (Martinez) is trying to short circuit the process. She's trying to be above the law," said Bruce Frederick, an attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, which represented the nonprofit group New Energy Economy in its petition before the EIB for the greenhouse gas regulations.

The Martinez administration contends that canceling the publication of the rules is necessary to comply with an executive order issued by Martinez on her first day in office that halts all pending regulations by executive agencies to determine whether they hurt businesses in New Mexico.

The order also directs agencies to review rules and regulations that are in place and determine by the end of the month which ones should be scrapped to improve economic development and job growth.

That review will likely include the state's cap-and-trade rules, which were approved in November and published in the register in December.

Martinez has long been critical of the state's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases, saying "cap and tax" policies will be costly for New Mexico families and will force businesses from the state.

Up for debate is whether officials at the Environment Department have the authority to call back the regulations after they were filed last month with the state records office.

According to state law, a rule filing with the state records office can be canceled by the agency, commission or board that adopted and issued the regulations in the first place. In the case of the greenhouse gas reduction rules, that would be the Environmental Improvement Board.

Martinez dismissed the entire board on Tuesday, saying their services were no longer needed. It was not immediately clear when she planned to announce her own appointments to the board.

Another point of contention is whether the greenhouse gas regulations and other disputed rules should be classified as "pending" and fall under the governor's executive order since they have not been published in the register. Martinez's office contends the rules are not "final and effective" without publication.

Others argue that regulators formally adopted the rules when they voted on them during last year's hearings.

"Really this is an end-run around a public process," said Steve Michel, chief counsel for Western Resource Advocates' energy program and an expert who testified on behalf of New Energy Economy's greenhouse gas petition.

In dismissing the EIB on Tuesday, Martinez questioned the public process behind the greenhouse gas rules. She noted that the EIB moved forward after state lawmakers rejected a similar proposal during the legislative process and that a majority of the board members were "more interested in advancing political ideology than implementing common sense policies."


Source: http://www.alamogordonews.c...

JAN 6 2011
http://www.windaction.org/posts/29586-governor-drops-green-rules-martinez-halts-emissions-regulations
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