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New Mexico Supreme Court allows environmental groups to intervene in emissions hearing

The New Mexico Supreme Court [official website] ruled unanimously Wednesday that environmental groups may intervene in state administrative hearings over greenhouse gas emissions standards. New Energy Economy (NEE) [advocacy website], a non-profit organization working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sought to intervene in a hearing before the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) [official website] to defend regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions. The EIB is already considering petitions from opponents of the regulations [text, PDF]. New Energy Economy, represented by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) [advocacy website], argued [AP report] that it was necessary to have a party to defend the law before the board to maintain the adversarial system. The court ruled [press release] that since NEE was a party to the original proceedings before the EIB it should be granted the right to defend it in this appeal. The executive director of NEE, Mariel Nanasi, lauded [press release] the decision: "We are pleased that the Supreme Court has ruled in our favor. The Court's decision upholds the rule of law against special interests and their lobbyists. We now look forward to defending the carbon pollution reduction rule based on its economic and scientific merits."

California has encountered similar difficulties passing greenhouse gas emissions standards. In March, the San Francisco Superior Court [official website] delayed the implementation of a cap-and-trade program [JURIST report] by requiring California's Air Resources Board (ARB) [official website] to further analyze alternatives. While the court's decision did not officially preclude the ARB from adopting or implementing the program in the future, it delayed the process as the ARB will now have to conduct additional research on other available options and report back as to why the cap-and-trade program is superior as well as invite public comment on the issue. Earlier this year, Texas failed for the third time in two months [JURIST report] at its attempts to block new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] regulations governing greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia [official website] denied the state's request to block the program, which allocates greenhouse gas emission permits under the Clean Air Act [materials].

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