Last week, the State of New Mexico filed a motion to intervene as of right in the legal battle over the 1500 MW Desert Rock coal-fired power plant to be located in that state. The plant, being developed by Sithe Global Power, is currently awaiting a decision from the EPA regarding an air permit. Desert Rock Energy has filed a suit against the EPA for taking too long to address the air permit because the EPA is required to address a permit within 12 months of the permit being proposed, but has failed to do so. A proposed settlement would require EPA to act on the permit application by July 31.
New Mexico seeks to intervene because, it asserts, such an accelerated decision would harm the environment of New Mexico. In its motion to intervene, New Mexico relies, in part, on its interest in its state-wide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To have a right to intervene, a party must demonstrate that the result of the lawsuit will impair the ability of that party to protect that party's interests. For the purposes of intervention, "interests" is construed very broadly. New Mexico asserts that it has an interest in meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets that are mandatory under state law, and that this interest will be impaired if the power plant is approved because of the more than 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide that will be emitted by the power plant each year.