New Mexico has already been passed over for some gas and oil projects because of regulatory uncertainties, a witness for opponents of the state’s cap-and-trade rule told the Environmental Improvement Board on Tuesday.
The board, which concluded three days of technical testimony, also heard from a climate change expert who said the science is still in flux and that its impacts on New Mexico health and resources can’t be predicted with accuracy.
John Christy, an atmospheric science professor and contributor to United Nations reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said cap and trade would have no meaningful impact on global climate or future conditions here.
Public Service Company of New Mexico, oil and gas groups and others petitioned the board to repeal the rule, arguing it will increase energy costs, jeopardize jobs and put the state at an competitive disadvantage.
Approved by the previous board in 2010, the rule requires large emitters of carbon dioxide – mostly oil, gas and utility companies – to cut emissions by 2 percent a year. Those unable to meet the requirement could buy allowances in a regional cap-and-trade program.
The state Environment Department, which proposed the rule but now opposes it, presented no staff witnesses who drafted the rule.
New Mexico Oil and Gas Association President Steve Henke told the board that DCP Midstream was considering building a processing facility in southeastern New Mexico but then went across the state line in Texas, in part because of “regulatory uncertainty.” For similar reasons, the Williams company rerouted a pipeline from the San Juan Basin to Ignacio, Colo., he said.
Attorney Bruce Frederick, who represents the New Energy Economy, grilled Christy, contending his are minority views. “It is important to kind of get that idea that global warming is real,” he said.
Beginning Dec. 5, the board will hear a petition to repeal a rule proposed by NEE that would cap greenhouse emissions statewide in 2013.