Gas cap debated

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Greenhouse emissions at center of proposal

By Susan M. Bryan

SANTA FE — There was no shortage of grim economic and environmental predictions as a New Mexico environmental regulatory board heard Monday from dozens of people on both sides of a proposal that seeks a greenhouse gas emissions cap in the state.

The Environmental Improvement Board was petitioned by an environmental group, New Energy Economy, to establish a cap. The group advocates for reductions of 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

Renewable energy advocates, social justice activists, environmentalists and physicians voiced their support.

“I have treated too many babies and children and adults who were gasping for air because of asthma and other respiratory diseases that were caused or worsened by pollutants that could be eliminated or decreased with existing technologies,” Dr. Bruce Trigg told the board.

Joan Brown, a Franciscan sister and director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, called the proposed cap an “ethical and moral” responsibility.

“Cutting emissions is one of those huge decisions we need to face,” she said.

Besides fueling the global warming debate in New Mexico, New Energy Economy’s petition has sparked concern among business leaders and others over what role regulators should play in addressing a problem that transcends state boundaries.

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