Tuesday, 31 July 2007 17:00

California clean car standards for NM

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New Mexico, under a general order from Governor Bill Richardson, is moving to adopt the California Clean Car standards. The New Mexico Department of the Environment has proposed standards that, if passed, would implement the California vehicle emission standards - including the super warranty. The proposal directs the state to implement global warming and smog-forming emissions standards for vehicles.
Additionally, the bill would impose the expansion and extension of warranties.

“Greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks are expected to grow faster than any other sector in New Mexico,” said Governor Richardson. “That is why New Mexico will adopt motor vehicle standards like California’s by the end of the year.”

“Adopting these clean tailpipe standards in New Mexico would reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new vehicles about 30 percent over the next eight years. We know that these standards can be met using existing “off-the-shelf” technology at no additional long-term cost to consumers.”

The governor’s initiative was adopted unanimously by the New Mexico Climate Change Advisory Group as the adoption of the California Clean Car Standard was determined to be the most cost effective of its recommendations. In New Mexico, transportation ranks third in the production of greenhouse gas emissions; emissions in this sector are expected to grow faster than any other if conditions continue as they are now.

In support of the California proposition, Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department Ron Curry testified in a hearing before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Sacramento, California, saying, “It is evident that if we are prohibited from adopting the California GHG emission standard, we will not meet the Governor’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target for New Mexico.

“There is no reason for EPA not to act quickly since California has met the criteria for receiving a waiver of federal preemption. They have determined that its motor vehicles emissions standards are at least as protective of public health and welfare as applicable Federal standards, that it needs such motor vehicle emissions standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions, and that California's standards and accompanying enforcement procedures are consistent with the Clean Air Act.”

He continued: “The U.S. EPA Administrator must grant a waiver unless he finds that (a) the determination of the state is arbitrary and capricious, (b) the state does not need the state standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions, or (c) the state standards and accompanying enforcement procedures are not consistent with section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act. None of the above findings can be made.”


The Automotive Service Association (ASA) opposes the proposed standards in New Mexico. Although ASA supports clean car programs, the association believes such programs can exist and prosper in states without expanding or extending warranties at the expense of independent repair facilities.

“Independent repairers in New Mexico perform approximately 75 percent of all non-warranty repairs. Allowing repairs to move only to franchised new car dealers for warranty repair will arbitrarily limit the repair marketplace in the state of New Mexico,” said Bob Redding, ASA’s Washington, D.C., representative, in a letter to the New Mexico Department of the Environment. ASA asked that the Department of the Environment conduct an evaluation of the impact of such regulation on independent repairers before moving forward with the proposal.

Western climate action initiative

Governor Richardson has stepped forward on environmental issues. In the absence of a strong national climate program, he has pushing for regional solutions. On February 26, 2007, he signed a memorandum of understanding with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Governors of Arizona, Washington and Oregon creating the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative. Most recently Utah and British Columbia became members and the membership is expected to continue its growth. Each member of the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative is committed to adopting clean tailpipe standards for passenger vehicles that will result in major reductions in GHG emissions and other pollutants.