New Mexico's Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated a greenhouse-gas reduction regulation adopted in the final days of former Gov. Bill Richardson's administration that the state's new governor, Susana Martinez, had attempted to derail.
The five-member court ordered the state government to publish the rule in the state register, after which it will take effect.
The regulation, adopted Dec. 6 by the state Environmental Improvement Board, requires New Mexico's large greenhouse-gas emitters to cut their emissions by 3% a year from 2010 levels starting in 2013.
Martinez, a Republican, had blocked the rule from being published in the register. Martinez issued an executive order Jan. 1 suspending all pending rules established during the administration of Richardson, a Democrat whose term ended Dec. 31.
The court unanimously ruled in favor of environmental group New Energy Economy Inc., which sued Martinez and two other state officials, to have the rule reinstated. The group argued that Martinez's attempt to block publication of the greenhouse-gas emissions regulation, which was final and not pending, violated the state's constitution and other laws. The group noted that in addition to the pollution rule, Martinez's administration blocked publication of 31 other final regulations that various agencies had filed with the state records center to be published in the register.
New Energy Economy attorney Mariel Nanasi said the group was pleased with the ruling and expected a court order to publish the rules in the next few days. Nanasi added that she believes Martinez acted to block the rules as a favor to the oil, natural gas and coal industries.
"We'd rather that she invest in a clean energy economy," Nanasi said.
A telephone call to Martinez's office was not immediately returned.
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