In a stunning blow to the young administration of Republican Governor Susana Martinez, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Martinez violated the state constitution when she prevented a rule reducing carbon pollution from being published as codified state law.
The lawsuit was filed by nonprofit New Energy Economy. New Energy Economy said the ruling reflects claims that Martinez arbitrarily and illegally sought to suppress the rule in an attempt to appease major carbon polluters who contributed heavily to her gubernatorial campaign.
“We are prepared to continue fighting and winning against all challenges to New Mexico’s carbon pollution reduction rule--the scientific and economic facts are clearly on our side,” said Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy. “We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling today and will redouble our efforts to transform this culture of litigation into a culture of investment in creating family-supporting jobs for New Mexicans, and an enduring legacy for future generations.”
New Energy Economy led a two-year public deliberation process that resulted in the carbon pollution reduction rule being adopted as official state law by the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board. The rule requires facilities that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon pollution per year to reduce those emissions by 3% per year from 2010 levels starting in 2013.
“Gov. Martinez attempted an end run around the constitution at the request of major polluters,” said Bruce Frederick, staff attorney from the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of New Energy Economy. “Her attempt to prevent the carbon pollution rule from becoming a valid state law is highly illegal and cannot be tolerated in a democratic society.”