Beware Regulation Gone Wild

Uh oh, they’re at it again. Governor Richardson’s appointees are doing his bidding and ignoring the fact that in New Mexico it is the legislature, not appointed regulatory bodies serving at the pleasure of the Governor, that are supposed to create laws:

New Mexico became the first Intermountain state to implement the Clean Car program today after the Environmental Improvement Board voted late last night to approve the regulations that address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

The program, which will become effective Jan. 1, 2008, requires car manufacturers to sell and lease vehicles that meet the standards beginning with model year 2011. The program only applies to new vehicles and will not affect new or used cars sold before that model year.

“The Clean Cars Program is a key part of our state’s effort to reduce global warming emissions to the levels necessary to avoid the worst effects of a warming planet,” said Governor Richardson. “Today’s decision by the Environmental Improvement Board means New Mexico can implement the cleanest standards for vehicle emissions in the country. New Mexico is again taking action, when Washington won’t.”

And there you have it, the Governor’s reason for brushing aside the lawmaking process is so that he can have that all important sound bite for his doomed presidential campaign: “New Mexico is again taking action, when Washington won’t.”

Maybe that has something to do with the fact that the rest of the country is still run like a Democracy?

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of emission standards, you should be troubled by a regulatory body acting in a way that completely eliminates the legislative process. This is a very dangerous slope. The people on this body are not accountable to anyone in New Mexico other than the Governor – and he hasn’t spent any significant time in New Mexico in months.

There is no deliberation involved here. There is simply one man dictating the law of the land, and single-handedly changing that law at the witching hour with little to no public input. This is just wrong. You have a Democratic Governor with a Democratic controlled legislature. If this is what is in the best interest of New Mexico, then he should put it on the Legislative agenda for the session and get it passed legally.

Before the environmentalists among you leave comments that support the Governor’s mandate over the constitutional process we still have for making laws. Let me put this in another context for you. Let’s take an issue like abortion that pretty evenly divides the population. Should a pro-life Governor be able to appoint a regulatory body to regulate abortion?

How supportive would those who are pro-choice react if this body some evening at midnight decided to ban abortion throughout the state? Would you be okay with the pro-life Governor’s edict that:

“The Ban Abortions Program is a key part of our state’s effort to reduce the murder of the unborn to avoid the worst effects of a misguided planet,” said Governor Conservative. “Today’s decision by the Life Improvement Board means New Mexico can implement the most stringent standards for protecting the sanctity of life in the country. New Mexico is again taking action, when Washington won’t.”

Like I said, it’s a slippery slope.

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