A local Republican legislator criticized a proposal made by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to raise clean car standards on vehicles sold within the state.
“When are the governor and her allies in the Legislature going to realize that they live in New Mexico and not in California? More people in New Mexico drive pick-ups than Priuses,” state Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell, said in a press release issued Wednesday by New Mexico House Republicans.
Ezzell, who is chair of the House Republican Caucus, said in the release that the new clean car standards would negatively impact farmers, ranchers, builders and tradespeople who use the larger vehicles as part of their jobs.
“Anyone who depends on non-hybrid vehicles for their livelihoods is going to feel the effect of this new mandate,” Ezzell said.
Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, announced the proposal for tougher clean car standards Tuesday in New York City at Climate Week, where she took part in a panel discussion with other governors about actions that states are taking to combat climate change.
According to a press release issued Tuesday by her office, the proposal would start with model-year 2022 vehicles sold in New Mexico and that meet a 52 mpg fuel economy standard.
The release states the new standards would require newer model vehicles to emit fewer greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The proposed standards would be higher than those at the federal level.
Pollution from vehicles accounts for a large share of New Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions and contributes heavily to the area’s growing ozone problem, the release from Lujan Grisham’s office stated.
California is now suing the federal government after the Trump administration moved to block the state from implementing their own clean car standards that are stricter than those at the federal level.
“While President Trump threatens to rob New Mexico and indeed all states of a valuable tool for combatting air pollution and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, New Mexico will stand up and deliver on our commitment to environmental leadership,” Lujan Grisham said Tuesday.
Maddy Hayden, public information officer for the New Mexico Environment Department, said Thursday existing state law allows the state to set clean car standards through an administrative rulemaking process. Whether the standards are ultimately adopted or not is decided by a vote of the state’s seven-member Environmental Improvement Board.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.