Air Pollution Control Equipment Services, Emissions

New Mexico cap and trade

New Mexico regulators Nov. 2 approved a proposal to establish what state officials call the most comprehensive greenhouse gas pollution reduction regulations in the nation.

The plan calls for 2 percent reductions to begin in 2012. Facilities that go over the cap would be able to buy and bank allowances or offsets as part of the regional trade mechanism. Facilities under the cap could sell their unneeded emission allowances.

The program will become effective January 1 and would include a provision in case the federal government comes up with its own plan.

Public Service Co. of New Mexico, the state’s largest electric utility, said annual costs to comply with the new regulations are estimated to reach $110 million by 2020. It opposed the measure, saying it preferred a federal approach to the issue.

Members of the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board included language that would allow the state to propose cost containment measures if the cost of allowances exceed a certain level.

New Mexico’s coal-fired power plants and the oil and gas industry emit about 24 million metric tons of carbon emissions into the air each year. The state aims to curb emissions of plants that emit 25,000 metric tons or more.

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