November 10, 2023
Mayor Has 10 Days to Veto Controversial Ordinance
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—On Wednesday night, November 8th, after hours of debate and dozens of comments from community members, the Albuquerque City Council voted 5-4 to approve abolishing the current Joint Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board.
Councilors Dan Lewis, Brook Bassan, Louie Sanchez, Renee Grout and Trudy Jones voted for Lewis’ two bills to abolish the current board and to establish a moratorium on taking any action to address quality of life issues. Councilors Tammy Fiebellkorn, Pat Davis, Ike Benton and Klarissa Peña voted against both bills.
Mayor Tim Keller has ten days to veto the bills. Then City Council would need 6 votes to override the veto.
Maslyn Locke, Senior Staff Attorney at New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC), which represents the Mountain View Coalition, said, “It’s disappointing how much misinformation was relied on to inform last night’s vote. We have decades of research that not only shows that poor public health is detrimental to economic growth and development, but also shows that air quality regulation has overwhelmingly positive economic effects. This is all something that would be proven by the Mountain View Coalition at the Dec 4th hearing before the Joint Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board, but the City Council decision last night may take away their opportunity, and their right, to do that. I also just want to make clear that the Air Board is already subject to the Open Meetings Act and the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA), so the idea that the Lewis legislation is providing additional transparency or doing anything other than halt a legal rulemaking process is simply ludicrous.”
Eric Jantz, Legal Director for NMELC, said, “If Councilor Lewis had read his own bill he would know this isn’t really about transparency—it’s about picking and choosing who is on the Air Board.”
More than 100 people signed up for public comment on these bills; approximately 50 community members spoke against the bills, and only 20, mostly representing companies which would be regulated by the proposed Health, Environment & Equity Impacts (HEEI) regulation, spoke in favor….
Read the entire press release here.