On her second business day in office, Gov. Susana Martinez – who forcefully opposed the decisions by the state’s Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) instituting a cap and trade program — fired all seven members of the board Tuesday (Jan. 4).
The governor’s office announced that the EIB members received an e-mail Tuesday that will be followed by this letter:
Thank you for your service to the State of New Mexico by serving on the Environmental Improvement Board. This letter is to inform you that I am removing you as a member of the Environmental Improvement Board. Your removal is effective immediately.
Again, thank you for your service to our state.
The EIB made headlines when, on this past Nov. 2 — Election Day — it voted to have New Mexico take part in a regional cap and trade program, even though Martinez and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Diane Denish opposed it, along with many members of both parties in the state legislature. One month later, the EIB approved a state-wide cap on emissions to act as a backstop should Martinez try to roll back or remove the provisions the board approved. (You can read and see more about the November meeting here and the December EIB meeting here.)
Enivronmental groups hailed the decisions but business and energy industry officials insist cap and trade measures will inhibit growth and place the state’s energy sector — the largest contributor to the state’s coffers through severance taxes — at an economic disadvantage.
On Tuesday evening, Gov. Martinez released this statement:
“New Mexico has recently suffered from an anti-business environment exacerbated by policies which discourage economic development and result in businesses setting up shop across state lines. Unfortunately, the majority of EIB members have made it clear that they are more interested in advancing political ideology than implementing common-sense policies that balance economic growth with responsible stewardship in New Mexico. As a result, I have notified members of the board that, effective immediately, their services are no longer needed. Should any members of the board wish to reapply for appointment, I will consider their qualifications on a case-by-case basis.”