The Consumer and Environmental Protection Division will bring civil actions on behalf of the citizens of New Mexico and will work to protect, preserve, and enhance New Mexico’s environment, water, and natural resources through affirmative litigation. The Division enforces consumer laws in the State of New Mexico that are intended to shield the public from fraudulent and unfair business practices. The state’s principal consumer law is the Unfair Practices Act (UPA). Under the UPA, the Division provides services to the public to ensure that consumers have safe and fair interactions with businesses operating in New Mexico. We also represent the interests of New Mexico’s residential and small business consumers in matters of gas, electric, and telecommunications regulation.
Water is New Mexico’s most valuable resource. Using New Mexico’s Constitution, statutes and interstate compacts as our guide, the Division represents the State of New Mexico and its officials in cases thought to be of particular legal significance to New Mexico. Protection of New Mexico’s scenic and fragile environment is a priority of the NMDOJ. The Division works closely with law enforcement, other state agencies, and diverse stakeholders to safeguard our natural resources, recover compensation for damages to our environment, and prosecute businesses and individuals who violate our environmental protection laws.
The Division is particularly active in pursuing recovery for New Mexico taxpayers, and works confidentially with whistleblowers who identify fraud and false claims which deplete the public treasury. Under state law, the Attorney General has the power to seek recovery of three times the amount of misused funds and to impose monetary penalties for fraud. These mechanisms aid the Attorney General in making taxpayers whole and in deterring false claims against the State.
The Litigation Division represents the State of New Mexico in a variety of legal matters related to the enforcement of New Mexico’s antitrust laws. This work is intended to ensure fair competition among businesses and to protect consumers. In antitrust matters, the Division often collaborates with the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and other state attorneys general. Antitrust matters handled by the Litigation Division include lawsuits to enforce New Mexico’s Antitrust Act, reviews of proposed mergers and acquisitions for any anti-competitive effects, and investigations of potential violations of antitrust laws.
As the Attorney General’s bankruptcy counsel, the Division takes the lead in representing the State and its various agencies in major national bankruptcy actions. On the local level, by inter-agency agreement, the Division represents the Taxation and Revenue Department in matters pending before the New Mexico Bankruptcy Court, where more than 8,000 New Mexico taxpayers seek relief in a typical year.
The Division also conducts investigations and takes enforcement actions to protect New Mexicans from unlawful solicitation practices by New Mexico charities and ensures that charity assets are used for their intended charitable purposes.