The EPA’s Shocking Power Grab in New Mexico

The Washington, DC-based Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the New Mexico-based Rio Grande Foundation have released a new report on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s)rampant abuse of power in enforcing the “Regional Haze Provision” of the federal Clean Air Act.

Full text of the new report is available online.

The specific target of the EPA in this unfolding debacle is the San Juan Generating Station in the Four Corners region of New Mexico. Author William Yeatman, Assistant Director, Center for Energy and Environment, at CEI, describes in detail how the EPA ran roughshod over New Mexico’s rightful authority under the Clean Air Act, at a cost of almost $340 million to New Mexico ratepayers.

As Yeatman writes in the paper, “New Mexico proposed a plan in full compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. In a contortion of logic, the EPA is rejecting New Mexico’s cost-effective analysis for a plan that achieves the EPA’s own target for cost-effectiveness. It is the only state subject to this bizarre reasoning.”

While overreach on the part of the EPA is not uncommon, Yeatman explains in detail that “New Mexico is being treated differently than every other state, in order to justify $700 million in costs beyond what the EPA’s own rules stipulate are necessary.”

Said Paul Gessing, President of the Rio Grande Foundation, “In New Mexico, we care deeply about both clean air and economic growth. Our own policymakers in the Environmental Department came up with a cost-effective solution that fully-complied with the EPA’s own guidelines, but that was completely ignored by the out-of-control federal agency.”

Concluded Yeatman, “New Mexico lawmakers should send a strong message to the EPA that its actions are unacceptable. They should enact a resolution condemning the EPA’s arbitrary regulations and demand that New Mexico be treated like its peers. In so doing, they would be governing in the best interest of the nearly 500,000 New Mexicans who face a $120 per year electricity tax to pay for invisible benefits.”