Richardson Takes Aim At Polluters

New Mexico – Gov. Bill Richardson has painted a target on New Mexico's coal-fired power plants, saying they provide a major source of electricity for homes and businesses in the state but pump far too much pollution into the air.

Richardson is planning for legislation aimed at punishing repeat air polluters by giving state regulators the power to deny them new permits or revoke existing permits if they have a record of air quality violations.

State laws that govern water, solid wastes and hazardous materials already include a so-called "bad actor" clause, but the air quality act does not.

A senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Tom Singer, is applauding Richardson for highlighting New Mexico's heavy reliance on coal.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.