NMELC PRESS RELEASES

CURRENT PRESS RELEASE

2nd Annual National Green Amendment Day Tackles Environmental Injustice Through Collective Action

July 14, 2022

CONTACT:

Maya van Rossum, Founder of Green Amendments For The Generations and the Delaware Riverkeeper, (215) 801-3043, maya@forthegenerations.org

Second Annual Green Amendment Day Tackles Environmental Injustice Through Collective Action

Yesterday, over one hundred environmental advocates from 23 states across the country gathered virtually to celebrate the Second Annual Green Amendment Day. Entitled “Green Amendments: Transforming Environmental Rights from Rhetoric to Reality,” programming aimed to shine a light on how enforceable environmental rights, in the form of constitutional Green Amendments, can help frontline communities’ address toxic pollution, environmental racism, climate injustice, and air and water pollution harming their communities. According to Green Amendments For The Generations, the organizer of this national day of recognition and action, the goal of the day’s activities was to promote the value of securing constitutional protection for the inalienable right to a clean and healthy environment in all fifty states through passage of Green Amendments, constitutional environmental rights amendments that recognize and protect the rights of all people to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments. …

 

Past Press Releases

Bernalillo County Refuses to Hold Santolina Hearing Online

Officials Ignore Pleas to Expand Access to Public Hearing 

Albuquerque, NM—The Bernalillo County Commission is refusing to provide the greatest accessibility to the public by not allowing the public to attend the upcoming Santolina hearing scheduled for June 28 at 2pm over Zoom as they have done in the past throughout the pandemic. This is despite multiple requests from immunocompromised community members who want to participate, but fear for their health during this time of rising Covid-19 cases in Bernalillo County and across the state of New Mexico. The public deserves the greatest accessibility to attend this public hearing and their public safety should be kept at the forefront during these ever-changing times. 

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NM Adopts Clean Cars Standards

May 5, 2022

Access to electric vehicles addresses climate change and improves air quality

** RESOURCES: Spokespeople available upon request. **

SANTA FE – Today, the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board and the City of Albuquerque – Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board voted to adopt clean cars rules after public hearings on May 4 and 5. Adoption of the rules follows a robust stakeholder engagement process over the past year….

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Santolina Opponents Remain Determined After Disappointing Court of Appeals Decision

April 29, 2022

Court of Appeals Affirms District Court Denial of Appeals of Level B1 Master Plan and Level B1 Development Agreement

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Opponents of the Santolina Development project responded today to the Court of Appeals decision handed out on Thursday, April 20, 2022, that affirmed the District Court decision denying their appeals of the Level B1 Master Plan and the Level B1 Development Agreement. …

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Local Small Farmers Respond to County Commissioner’s Outrageous Attacks

April 19, 2022

WHAT: Press Conference (in-person)

WHEN: Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 4:30pm (before the ABCWUA Meeting at 5pm)

WHERE: One Civic Plaza, outside entrance to City Govt Center, near Plaza Eatery

WHO: Local small farmers and acequia users

WHY: To respond to the baseless & irresponsible comments made by a sitting County Commissioner 

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—During a recent Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) meeting, Bernalillo County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada made the following outrageous comment attacking our local farmers: “Farmers [in the middle Rio Grande] tend to be the biggest wasters of water.” He also claimed that this outrageous accusation was based on “research” that his office had conducted….

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Santolina Development Thwarted Again by Community Opposition

March 2, 2022 For Immediate Release Bernalillo County Planning Commission Votes 3-2 to Deny Santolina Level A Amended Master Plan & Level BII Master Plan Albuquerque, NM—In an unprecedented action, the Bernalillo County Planning Commission voted 3-2 to deny...

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NMELC Announces Recipients of its EJ Awards for 2021

December 13, 2021 Toxic Polluter Award for 2021 Goes to Hilcorp Energy Santa Fe, NM—The New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) announced the winners of its Annual Environmental Justice Awards for 2021. The winners were celebrated during the NMELC’s Annual Member...

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ENDAUM v. US Case Reaches Important Milestone with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

October 20, 2021

ENDAUM v. United States Government Case Reaches Important Milestone with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, USA—Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM) announced today it will file its Additional Observations on the Merits including written and video testimony and other exhibits to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) based in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Oct. 21.

ENDAUM’s petition states that when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensed Hydro Resources, Inc. (HRI) (now known as NuFuels, a subsidiary of the Canadian mining company Laramide Resources) to operate uranium mining in the two Diné (Navajo) communities of Crownpoint and Churchrock it violated human rights guaranteed in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, including the rights to life, health, benefits of culture, fair trial, and property….

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Bernalillo County Commission to Rehear Appeal of Zone Map Amendment for Santolina Development Project

August 23, 2021

Bernalillo County Commission to Rehear Appeal of Zone Map Amendment for Santolina Development Project

Albuquerque, NM – An appeal of the controversial Santolina Development Project will be heard a second time in front of the Bernalillo County Commission this week. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 3pm. Detailed information on how to view the hearing and the agenda at the end of this release.

The first appeal of the Bernalillo County Planning Commission’s recommendation to change the zoning from Agricultural to Planned Communities was back in 2014….

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City Environmental Health Department Withdraws Motions to Disqualify Air Quality Control Board Members

July 9, 2021

City Environmental Health Department Withdraws Motions to Disqualify Air Quality Control Board Members

July 14 Hearing Cancelled

Mountain View Coalition Credits Community Mobilization Efforts for Raising Voices Against Environmental Injustice

 ALBUQUERQUE, NM—The City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department (EHD) abruptly withdrew four motions to disqualify Air Quality Control Board (AQCB) members from a case by Mountain View residents to reverse the air pollution permit for a hot mix asphalt batch plant proposed by New Mexico Terminal Services (NMTS).

Attorneys for the EHD had requested three members of the AQCB to be disqualified for bias; attorneys for the groups making up the Mountain View coalition—Mountain View Neighborhood Association, Mountain View Community Action, and Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge—were prepared to argue in the July 14th hearing next week in front of the AQCB that the bias claims were baseless and that there is no evidence to support the city’s disqualification requests.

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Community Opposition to Proposed Santolina Development Continues to Grow

Albuquerque, NM – Dozens of grassroots community residents, small farmers and people concerned about dwindling water supplies gathered last week to become more informed and strategize about how to continue the fight against the proposed mega housing development project Santolina. 

The Contra Santolina Working Group, along with the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC), co-hosted an event over Zoom that featured a detailed history of the movement since 2013 presented by Dr. Virginia Necochea; updates about the future of water in the Middle Rio Grande Valley from Santiago Maestas, President of the South Valley Regional Association of Acequias; how the Development project would impact irrigation from small farmer Marcia Fernandez; legal updates from NMELC attorney Douglas Meiklejohn; and inspirational encouragement from Alejandría Lyons, Environmental Justice organizer at SWOP.

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NM Supreme Court Refuses to Review State Court of Appeals Ruling that Invalidated Zoning Change for Proposed Santolina Development

Santa Fe, NM – On April 16th, the New Mexico Supreme Court refused to review a ruling by the State Court of Appeals addressing the Santolina development that is proposed for Albuquerque’s West Mesa. 

According to New Mexico Environmental Law Center staff attorney Douglas Meiklejohn, the Supreme Court’s ruling means that the decisions by the Court of Appeals concerning Santolina remain in effect.

“The Court of Appeals ruling means that the land in question remains zoned Rural Agricultural and that it cannot be used for a planned community such as Santolina,” said Meiklejohn.

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SWOP & NM Voices for Children Vow to Keep Up the Pressure on Kirtland Air Force to Clean Up Jet Fuel Spill

Between 5 million and 24 million gallons of jet fuel remain underneath the ground in Albuquerque’s precious aquifer in a giant plume that Kirtland Air Force Base discovered in 1999. Clean-up of the so-called spill has been moving very slowly for more than twenty years. The Air Force has not even fully characterized the spill, and now a judge has dismissed a case (SWOP et al., vs. US Air Force) that would have tried to get the Air Force to speed up the clean up of the contamination.

The EDB (ethylene dibromide) plume’s leading edge has been pulled back, but the main bulk of the plume has not yet been addressed, according to Charles de Saillan, staff attorney at the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, who is representing various clients on this important case.

“We are very disappointed in the decision,” said de Saillan, “and we are considering our options. The Air Force needs to be subject to an enforceable schedule for completing the investigation and cleanup of the plume.”

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Southside Community Comes out in Full Force against the Proposed Asphalt Plant Permit in Spite of Systemic Barriers to Participation

Santa Fe, NM—More than 100 community members attended the three-day hearing on the proposed Air Quality Permit for Associated Asphalt & Material’s plant consolidation which was held before the NM Environmental Department and took place Monday, March 22 through Wednesday, March 25. Participants ranged in age from elementary school students at El Camino Real and Cesar Chavez, to seniors living in the impacted area. Every single member of the public who provided comment during the Public Hearing spoke against the permit except one.

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