New Mexico Passes Climate Bill 4-3, Will Join Western Climate Initiative

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While California voters cleared the way for its AB32 climate legislation to continue reeling in clean tech jobs by way of cleaning up polluter industries, New Mexico officials also voted 4-3 to go ahead with implementation of very similar climate legislation in that state yesterday.

The two votes mean that both California and New Mexico now have the all clear to work with the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a consortium of seven Western states and four Canadian provinces collaborating with the most comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions reduction rules in North America, slated to start in 2012.

In New Mexico’s case the new climate rules of their Greenhouse Gas Cap and Trade Program will apply to stationary sources that emit at least 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, mainly coal and gas-fired power plants, and oil and gas operations. Those facilities will be required to reduce their emissions by 2 percent per year.

With states moving ahead without the feds, the fossil fuel industry is now voicing disingenuous opposition to state initiatives, claiming that regulations should come from Congress, not forward-thinking states like New Mexico and California.

And with unprecedented sums of money being put forward by polluter companies to prevent action on clean energy at the state level, the states themselves are now under the kind of attack previously focused on the Senate. Funding or support for GOP candidates has been predicated on their position on the facts of climate science (agin it).

In New Mexico, most statewide Democratic candidates won and the party apparently will retain control over the state Legislature. But with the election last night of a Republican endorsed by Sarah Palin for Governor, the state’s participation in the climate consortium could now be on shaky ground.

Similarly, Arizona was once in the Western Climate Initiative, under climate hawk Governor Napolitano, who was among the initiating members, but she was tapped to become Secretary of Homeland Security and Governor Brewer, a climate zombie, replaced her.

In February, this year, Brewer pulled out. (Although she has modified that position a little in July– modifed executive order – agreeing to continue to participate, but in a limited role, and not in any cap and trade market.)

Like all the Tea Party/Koch Industries candidates, New Mexico’s new Governor toes the line on climate science. “There is disagreement in the science community concerning the causes of global warming,” says new Republican New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. Uh-oh.

Image: Marlon Long
Susan Kraemer @Twitter

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