NM Backs Down On Stronger Ozone Rules

New Mexico – The New Mexico Environment Department is backing down from adopting more stringent rules targeting emissions that contribute to ozone pollution in the Four Corners region.

But state officials say they have a good reason for not considering the rules this year.

State law allows New Mexico to adopt more stringent regulations than the federal government only if ozone levels are within 95 percent of the federal standard of 0.075 parts per million.

Officials say readings in the Four Corners region home to two coal-fired power plants and oil and gas development were unusually low this summer.

State officials say it's good news that levels are low, but environmentalists argue that ozone is a recurring problem and the state should have gone forward with the rules.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.