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New Mexico Quietly Adopts Country's Most Comprehensive Greenhouse Gas Rules

On the same day Californians voted against Proposition 23, a ballot measure which would have effectively frozen the state's pioneering climate and energy legislation, regulators in New Mexico approved a set of comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions reduction regulations that are more aggressive than any other such rules in the country.

In a 4-3 vote, the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) approved two sets of proposed global warming regulations: the first establishes rules for Greenhouse Gas Reporting and Verification and the other deals more specifically with Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade regulations.

The moves today from the EIB clear the way for New Mexico's participation in the Western Climate Initiative, a consortium of seven Western states and four Canadian provinces working to reduce carbon emissions with a regional cap-and-trade mechanism.

Outgoing New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson commended the panel's decision to adopt the regulations, saying that "addressing climate immediately is the right thing to do."

"I am pleased that the EIB adopted the program I have worked so hard to develop," said Gov. Richardson in a statement on Tuesday "I call on the federal government to build on New Mexico's program and the WCI to implement a national cap-and-trade system."

The rules will require about 63 facilities, primarily fossil fuel-fired power plants and oil and gas operations, that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually to start cutting emissions by 2 percent per year below 2010 levels, beginning in 2012.

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