Monday, September 6, 2010

New Mexico Coalition: Cap greenhouse gas emissions

CONTACT: John Fogarty, M.D., President – New Energy Economy, (505) 989-7262


Coalition: Issue ‘Deserves Respectful, Honest Discussions’

Press statement
Photo: San Juan Generating Station on Navajo Nation

SANTA FE, N.M. – A coalition of diverse groups say they will continue to advocate for a proposal to cap and reduce New Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions at additional hearings this week, and that they are disappointed by “rhetoric and erroneous accusations” coming from oil and gas industry insiders. Hearings will take place in Las Cruces, on Sept. 7, and in Farmington, on Sept. 8, before the matter heads back to Santa Fe for good.

“This is a very important issue that deserves respectful, honest discussions,” said John Fogarty, president of New Energy Economy, the organization that proposed the cap. “Oil and gas industry insiders are hijacking the debate with angered rhetoric and erroneous accusations designed to mislead New Mexicans. It’s disingenuous, and in many cases, knowingly false. Our goal is clear the air and stick to the facts of the proposal.”

Fogarty said that in order for the proposed rule to gain the wide support that it currently has—16 other organizations have signed on as co-petitioners—New Energy Economy had to make it acceptable to a broad range of economic and social interests. The coalition of petitioners, which include medical professionals, indigenous groups, rural interests, faith-based groups, clean energy advocates and environmental interests, worked extremely hard to make sure the proposed rule would not inflict undue economic harm on New Mexico, Fogarty said.

“This is a very modest rule, one that applies to very specific sources of emissions with very specific exemptions in order to avoid economic harm, one that will only be in place for eight years before it expires, and one that will reduce New Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent,” Fogarty said. “Those are the facts that need to be at the center of the public hearings discussions and in the media that are reporting on the issue.”

Fogarty said supporters “believe New Mexico has the ingenuity to not only avoid any ill effects from this rule, but to embrace the positive economic influences that can come from it. That’s the side of the story that opposition ignores but we will continue to tell,” he said.

The Las Cruces and Farmington hearings are the last of six public input sessions held around the state. With those hearings complete, the Environmental Improvement Board will resume official testimony by expert witnesses in Santa Fe on Oct. 4., and close its hearing on Oct. 5.

The Proposed Regulations:
· The cap would initially apply only to the states biggest polluters – power plants and oil and gas operations emitting more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide gas annually.
· The regulations would require carbon emission reductions of 3 percent annually from 2010 levels.
· The cap would take effect in 2012 and would end in 2020, or sooner if a national or regional cap involving New Mexico is put in place.
· The regulations would include provisions to keep emitters’ costs down:
o An annual limit on how much emitters would have to spend to comply Offsets, allowing emitters to comply at one site by taking credit for excess gas reductions at another site, or giving emitters credit for greenhouse gas reductions completed in the past (since 2005)o Banking, allowing emitters to hold onto credits for future use
The Economic Benefits:
A cap on emissions would spur investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, creating thousands of clean energy jobs at a time when we need them the most:

· It worked in California—one year after the state passed its own carbon regulations, clean-technology venture capital investment reached an all-time high of $3.3 billion, capturing 57 percent of the national total.
· The Solar Energy Industry Association predicts 19,000 new jobs created in New Mexico by 2016 in the solar industry alone, the highest per capita gain in the U.S.
· With a cap, electricity rates for utility customers would go up 1 percent or less, an amount dwarfed by the inevitable rate increases driven by the ever-rising cost of fossil fuels, a finite resource susceptible to volatile price swings. In less than a year in 2007 and 2008, the price of coal DOUBLED or TRIPLED in four out of five coal-mining regions in the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
· The American Solar Energy Society estimates that the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries could create 37 million new jobs in the U.S. by 2030. New Mexico’s share of that would be 236,800 jobs.
· Renewable energy generates 40 percent more jobs per unit of energy than coal power.

Las Cruces – Sept. 7, Noon–6:30 p.m. New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Rd., Las Cruces, New Mexico 88011
Farmington – Sept. 8, 2 p.m.–8 p.m., Room 7103, Computer Science Building, San Juan Community College, 4601 College Blvd., Farmington, New Mexico 87401


New Energy Economy
(505) 470-8686

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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