Albuquerque Air War: Big Business, Bipartisan Politicos Attack Environmental Justice Rule

December 15, 2023

By Kent Paterson, CounterPunch

Promoting a tourism mystique, the marketers of Albuquerque, New Mexico, peddle images of clean skies, diverse culture and delicious cuisine. The icons encompass soaring hot air balloons, majestic Sandia Mountain vistas and the ubiquitous chile pepper, red or green. But if current political trends hold, the postcard visitors send grandma might depict more spewing emissions, sickly skies and gagging residents.

At least that’s the implication of recent actions by the Albuquerque City Council that sacked the current members of the joint Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board (JAQCB) and blocked a proposed Health, Environment and Equity Impacts rule (HEEI) aimed at protecting low-income communities of color in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County from further, disproportionate air pollution impacts, including the cumulative effects of pollution. …

A Cruel Movida Against Environmental Justice

November 6, 2023

By V. B. Price, Mercury Messenger

A landmark environmental justice regulation proposed in Albuquerque — undoubtedly the most important of its kind in generations — has so frightened the business community here that it has gone to preposterous and disgusting lengths to undermine and destroy it.

Westside City Councilor and conservative Republican Dan Lewis, a petroleum businessman and pastor, introduced two bills in mid-October that would not only undermine the health of impoverished communities in Bernalillo County but would also deepen the county’s abysmal air quality record. The American Lung Association puts us in the top 25 most polluted metro areas in nation. …

Boarding Up: New legislation would stifle Albuquerque’s current Air Quality Board and replace it with a new one

November 4, 2023

By Ryan Lowery, The Paper.

An Albuquerque city councilor is seeking to replace a seven-member board tasked with preventing and abating air pollution in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. It’s a plan that isn’t sitting well with many residents of the South Valley, part of the city that is home to a disproportionate number of potentially polluting businesses. …

Albuquerque Plastic Fire Gives Air Regulators Opportunity ‘to Make the Right Decision’

August 17, 2023

By Austin Fisher, Source NM

Massive, toxic fire comes as grassroots community groups push for historic air regulation

Richard Moore started getting phone calls from his neighbors in the South Valley on Aug. 6.

He followed the path of the smoke, and decided to go up to Mesa del Sol where the Atkore United Poly Systems fire was still burning.

Ten days after the plastic fire, there has still been no official report to residents on the health impacts of the smoke created by burning plastic.

Board of Regents Approve RPSP Requests

August 14, 2023

By Maddie Pukite, Daily Lobo

Passed unanimously, University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes presented the Legislative Research and Public Service Projects Funding requests for FY 2024 – 2025 to the Board of Regents at their meeting on Thursday, Aug. 10. 

The largest RPSP request for 2025 was $11,941,700 for athletics to improve student-athlete welfare, recruitment and “enhancing the university’s brand”; it was $3.5 million more than last year’s request. 

The athletics request is one of two categorical requests, which are approved for a purpose, rather than a specific project. The other is a $1,097,900 request for educational television like New Mexico PBS. 

 Categorical requests are alongside 23 new requests and 29 expansion requests.  A new request of $997,946 would support the Accelerating Resilience Innovations in Drylands Institute for education and research on how to preserve the people’s economy and the ecosystem of New Mexico. 

Environmental concerns were also brought up during the public comment. Several spoke about the Board of Regents filing to require “review and consideration” of the Health Equity and Environmental Impacts regulation. …