NMELC in the News

Joint Motion Dismisses Permit for Asphalt Plant due to Health Concerns

February 21, 2023

by Maddie Pukite, Daily Lobo

Earlier this month on Feb. 8, the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board approved a joint motion that dismissed a hearing for an air quality permit to build an asphalt plant in the Mountain View community in the South Valley of Albuquerque.

The Environmental Law Center joined community organizers in the legal fight to get the asphalt site out of the community in 2018 when the Environmental Health Department issued a permit to New Mexico Terminal Services to create the plant, according to staff attorneys Maslyn Locke and Eric Jantz….

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South Valley Celebrates Revocation of Asphalt Plant’s Permit

February 14, 2023

by Gwynne Ann Unruh, The Paper.

The Mountain View Coalition has finally, after years fighting a permit that was issued for another hot mix asphalt batch plant in the South Valley, got the long end of the stick. New Mexico Terminal Services (NMTS) set to operate the plant in the Mountain View neighborhood got the short end of the stick this time.

By unanimous vote, the Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board approved a joint motion to dismiss a request for a hearing on the merits for an air quality permit issued in October 2020 for NMTS to operate the asphalt plant. …

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East Mountain Citizens Win 14 Year Battle To Protect Water from Developers

February 3, 2023

by Pat Davis, The Paper.

Status of 4,000 home Campbell Ranch development now unknown

East Mountain residents won a 14-year fight to protect their domestic water wells this week when New Mexico Court of Appeals Court affirmed a District Court decision denying an application for a new groundwater appropriation by a company that sells water to commercial developers. East Mountain homeowners banded together to hire lawyers and expert witnesses to defeat an application for a new groundwater appropriation to supply the massive proposed Campbell Ranch 4000 home and golf course development in the Edgewood and Sandia Park area….

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Changing the Playing Field: Proposed legislation would dramatically change New Mexico’s principal oil and gas law

January 18, 2023

by Jerry Redfern, Capital & Main

Three bills proposed for the New Mexico legislative session would shift the state’s focus on the oil and gas industry by emphasizing public safety and environmental protections, denying permits and increasing penalties for companies in violation of the law, and making it easier for citizen groups to sue scofflaw operators. 

The bills would dramatically redirect the Oil and Gas Act, which was written to protect oil and gas resources for the state’s benefit, to include protecting the environment and the public, particularly marginalized communities. The legislation could be the largest change to the act since it was written in 1935. …

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Community Convinces Air Quality Board to Hold Public Hearing

Health, Environment and Equity Impacts Regulation Could Shift Environmental Racism in South Valley 

December 23, 2022

by Gwynne Ann Unruh, The Paper.

The South Valley is a clear example of environmental racism and they are fed up with being the dumping ground for decades of a dirty industry that no one else wants. The strength of community organizing paid off for residents there when, spearheaded by the Mountain View Coalition and New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC), they were able to convince the ABQ-BernCo Air Quality Control Board (AQCB) to vote unanimously (5-0) to hold a public hearing on their proposed Health, Environment and Equity Impacts Regulation. 

“Most of the burdens and few of the benefits of economic development are experienced by residents in these overburdened communities,” Eric Jantz, NMELC Senior Staff Attorney told the AQCB….

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The Easy Road For Bernalillo County Air Quality Polluters Is Closing

December 13, 2022

by Gwynne Ann Unruh, The Paper.

Bernalillo County residents are sick and tired of getting the short end of the stick when it comes to businesses affecting their air quality. They want to close the loopholes polluters use and make the health of the community paramount.

The Mountain View Coalition and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center have teamed up to present the Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board with a proposed Health Environment & Equity Impacts Regulation on December 14, that would make it virtually impossible for businesses to squeak by the Board if they produce any air pollution. …

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Mountain View Coalition Action Today in Albuquerque

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022


ALBUQUERQUE, NM—The Mountain View Coalition and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center invite community members to attend the ABQ-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board meeting which is to be held hybrid tonight, Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at 5:30pm to comment on the proposed draft Health, Environment & Equity Impacts regulation. We are urging community members to ask the Air Board to schedule a PUBLIC HEARING ON THE PROPOSED REGULATION. …

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Groups want tighter rules for businesses seeking South Valley air permits

December 12, 2022

by Alexis Skonieski, KRQE Reporter

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – On a good day, Marla Painter says you can smell the fresh air in the South Valley. On others, she says all you smell are chemicals coming from the many industrial developments in the area.

“We have just seen one air permit after another rubber-stamped without any consideration for the health and wellbeing of the community,” Painter says. She feels the South Valley, her home for the last 25 years, has become a haven for industrial developments….

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New Mexico Residents Raise Environmental Justice Concerns

By Susan Montoya Bryan
Associated Press
US News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — On the southern edge of New Mexico’s largest city is a Hispanic neighborhood that used to be made up of a patchwork of family farms and quiet streets, but industrial development has closed in over the decades, bringing with it pollution.

Neighbors point to regular plumes of smoke and the smell of chemicals wafting through the neighborhood at night, saying contamination has disproportionately affected the area when compared with more affluent neighborhoods in the Albuquerque area. …

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BernCo, Don’t Let Another Polluter into the South Valley

By Gov. Vernon B. Abeita, Pueblo of Isleta, with co-authors Lauro Silva / board member, Mountain View Neighborhood Association; Marla Painter / president, Mountain View Community Action; Katie Dix / executive director, Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge; and Virginia Necochea / executive director, N.M. Environmental Law Center.

Albuquerque Journal

September 11, 2022

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Bernalillo County Commissioners will make a decision with outsized consequences for the South Valley and the Pueblo of Isleta, directly across the railroad tracks from a new housing development. The county zoning ordinance does not allow this type of land use, and the locals do not want it. The county zoning administrator, the county Board of Adjustment, and Albuquerque’s Environmental Health Department have thus far denied all requests relating to the new asphalt plant. Commissioners are now considering Star Paving’s appeal of a zoning administrator decision that it cannot build an asphalt plant on this site. Commissioners should deny the appeal. …

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The “Culligan Man” Might be the New Water Source for Santolina Developers

By Gwynne Ann Unruh

The Paper.

Bernalillo Commission Votes Unanimously to Support Santolina Industrial Park Amendments

Santolina’s solar arrays, wind turbines and tire recycling plant were approved by the Bernalillo County Commissioners Tuesday at their zoning meeting. It looks like “Culligan Man” is the new water source for the development’s 630-acre industrial business park located next to their Santa Fe size housing development. The development has been sidestepping the New Mexico Water Authority for years after their original permit expired as they fought members of the Albuquerque community through the court system this past decade….

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Community Opposition Forces Santolina Hearing to Reschedule

By Gwynne Ann Unruh

The Paper.

July 4, 2022

There is a lot at stake for community members in opposition to the Santolina development and they want to be sure that, when they raise their voices in disapproval, they are heard.

The Bernalillo County Commissioners (BCC) Santolina hearing (Zoning Meeting) scheduled for June 28 was originally an in-person meeting only. Community members and their representatives, who have opposed the massive development for over a decade, mobilized phone callers asking for the same treatment for the Santolina hearing as the BCC’s June 21 meeting, which was scheduled online “due to an increase in COVID cases in the state and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of county employees and citizens at-large.”

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission slows decision about Church Rock uranium cleanup

by Marjorie Childress

New Mexico In Depth

June 16, 2022

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission appears to have slowed its timeline for deciding whether to let another federal agency house uranium-contaminated debris on a mill site it regulates near Church Rock.  Local Navajo people and Navajo Nation officials object to the plan, saying the proposal doesn’t move debris far enough away from the community. …

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