Last week three Socorro County Commissioners (Ray Martinez, Craig Secatero and Glenn Duggins) emphatically expressed their objections to proposed amendments to the New Motor Vehicle Emissions Standards.
The Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) was expected to hear public comments starting on November 15. The hearing could last as long as three days to allow the hearing of all testimony, evidence, and public comment.
The purpose of the public hearing is for the EIB to consider and take possible action on a petition requesting the EIB to adopt amendments which will update New Mexico’s standards to align with California’s standards for low-emission and zero-emission light- and medium-duty vehicles.
The proposed rules also require new emission standards and reporting requirements identical to California’s for heavy-duty vehicles delivered for sale in New Mexico. The regulation is part of a broader state effort to address greenhouse gas emissions in keeping with Governor Lujan Grisham’s Executive Order addressing climate change and energy waste prevention. The EIB is authorized to adopt the proposed amendments pursuant to the Environmental Improvement Act.
As a matter of public record, the board directed County Attorney Adrian Nance to address a letter to New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board objecting to the proposed regulations. Socorro County’s letter would be joining the counties of Catron, Chaves, Eddy, Lea, McKinley, Otero, Roosevelt, Sierra who have offered their objections to the advanced car, truck rules. Other industries offering their objections to the Governor’s proposed legislation include strong support from the timber, farming, livestock, mining, small businesses, sportsman and outfitter industries as well as the Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties coalition.
Lujan Grisham described the amendments as a critical way to combat climate change in a large state where cars and trucks — not mass transit — dominate transportation. New Mexico is the fifth-largest state by geographic size.
However, the coalition said the proposed legislation would increase the county’s cost of doing business and the county wouldn’t be compensated for the increased costs.
The coalition is emphasizing the Advance Car and Truck Rules does not provide any new funding for counties performing the mandated activities and states Luhan Grisham’s rules are a violation of the New Mexico Constitution and would impair interstate commerce, which is in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
In addition, coalition pointed out the top imperfections and violations of the Advance Car and Truck rules:
1. It would require the counties to purchase and install expensive charging stations.
2. It would require the purchase of cars, trucks and heavy equipment that have not demonstrated the capacity to do the work reliably.
3. It would require the county to reeducate and retain its workforce to operate, service and repair vehicles and equipment that they are unfamiliar with.
4. It would create a financial hardship on counties as well as the people of New Mexico and directly impact consumers when the ability to purchase of gas/diesel vehicles is not available.
5. It would increase the financial pressure on low-income residents as well are agricultural producers who already are operating on razor-thin margins.
6. It will force consumers to travel out of state to make a vehicle purchase of their choice.
7. EV trucks and semis carrying a full load will have to take additional, longer stops along their route to charge. Additional stops, especially during extremely hot and cold times of the year, can compromise perishable agricultural products and overall animal health.