On July 27th the New Mexico Supreme Court was unanimous in its decision to allow environmental groups to intervene in an ongoing legal battle regarding the state's regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Utilities and other petitioners recently filed petitions with the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) seeking to repeal the regulations that were approved in the last few weeks of former Governor Richardson's administration. The regulations include New Mexico's plan to participate in a regional cap-and-trade program, as well as implementing a statewide cap on GHG emissions and a reporting system. Environmental groups claim the EIB excluded them from talks meant to resolve the issues raised by opponents of the GHG regulations.
As a result of Wednesday's ruling, the fight over the GHG regulations will involve both petitions before regulators, as well as appeals to the courts. Even if the utilities are successful in getting the regulations repealed, an environmental group can simply petition the board to reinstate the rules and any of the EIB's decisions can be appealed to the courts. Environmental groups consider Wednesday's ruling a victory.
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