Three years of resistance to asphalt plant consolidation continues
By Austin Fisher
A final decision on whether an asphalt company can expand its operations on Santa Fe’s South Side is expected this summer, after community groups appealed the project’s approval by state environmental regulators and hundreds of local residents petitioned Monday for the decision to be overturned.
Associated Asphalt and Materials, LLC in 2019 applied for a permit to consolidate two hot-mix asphalt batch plants and accompanying facilities into one location north of Airport Road on Santa Fe’s South Side, an area with extremely high rates of people living in poverty and without health care.
At a three-day hearing in March 2021 before the state Environment Department, Earth Care members said the permit for the project ignores the health and social impacts of locating multiple polluting industries in the area. They said residents could smell fumes in their homes from industry already nearby, and the expected pollution from the consolidation will adversely impact students.
The department in July 2021 issued the permit to the company, which activists say will violate air quality standards.
Santa Fe-based nonprofit Earth Care New Mexico and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center in August 2021 appealed the permit, arguing that it will disproportionately impact the communities and residents in the area….