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New Mexico and 15 Others Start the New Year Swinging

January 3, 2008

Albuquerque, NM - New Mexico has again joined the chorus of states singing for stronger rules on auto emissions. Five environmental groups and 16 states filed legal actions against the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday over the federal government's decision in December to block state 'clean car' regulations that would reduce climate change pollution. Sierra Club Climate Counsel David Bookbinder argues this is a states' rights issue.

"We need to actually begin doing something, and the only way we seem to make progress with this administration is going upside their head in federal court."

E.P.A. officials argue the state programs would create a 'confusing patchwork of rules' and that new federal fuel-efficiency standards are sufficient to cut greenhouse emissions. Bookbinder explains the E.P.A. had previously allowed states to set their own emissions rules.

Lauren Ketcham with Environment New Mexico says any increased costs that might come from the 'Clean Cars' program would be offset in a number of ways.

"We have cleaner air that helps reduce medical costs, and the vehicle's operating costs would be reduced as well, so folks save money at the pump."

New Mexico adopted clean car standards in November and local proponents believe those tougher regulations would also help reduce the high levels of asthma in the Land of Enchantment.

More information is available at the Sierra Club website at www.sierra.org.

Eric Mack/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - NM