“She has been a lightening rod, and I think that the Democrats have shored up their solidarity more than they have in the past because her stances have been so ideologically driven and so reactionary. She has taken a broad brush stroke to try and eliminate all things” environmental, she said.
Nanasi also pointed to findings by the state’s Climate Change Advisory Group that estimate that New Mexico’s economy would show net economic growth of $630 million by 2020 under the greenhouse gas regulations thanks to energy efficiency gains, job creation in new green industries and savings from electricity production. The WCI says its plan can realize a cost savings of around $100 billion by 2020 and without negatively impacting the regional economy.
“Now there is actually some room to finally discuss the facts behind all the rhetoric,” she said.
WCI’s Cummins said that if New Mexico did exit the cap-and-trade plan, it would not cripple progress within the regional initiative. He said that California and three Canadian provinces are on track to start the program as scheduled in January 2012 and comprise about two-thirds of emissions in the WCI jurisdiction.
“New Mexico is relatively small in terms of its overall emissions, so while it is certainly beneficial to have them participate in the market, it does not affect the viability of the market if New Mexico would elect not to participate,” he said.
Janice Adair, Washington’s point person and U.S. co-chair of WCI, noted that the initiative is more than its cap-and-trade program; governors and premiers in the initiative also work to spur investment in clean-energy technologies, create green jobs and encourage energy efficiency.
“I hope that Gov. Martinez is given the opportunity to understand this broader commitment that is part of the Western Climate Initiative and will continue New Mexico’s participation,” she said. “It’s hard to imagine, especially with gas prices on the rise, that any state would move away from energy efficiency and the development of a renewable energy portfolio.”