NMELC PRESS RELEASES

CURRENT PRESS RELEASE

Community Responds to Bernalillo County Commission Approval of Santolina Tire Dump

August 18, 2022

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—The Bernalillo County Commission voted 4-0 in favor of an amended Santolina Level A Master Plan and 3-0 to approve the Level B.II Master plan during their 4-hour-long hearing on Tuesday, August 16. Commissioner Pyskoty was absent for both votes, and Commissioner Barboa lost her internet connection during the second vote. She had indicated an intention to support both plans during the discussion.

The Level A Master Plan was approved by the County back in 2015, but the massive housing development has never been built. The original plan called for 37,000 homes for approximately 95,000 people that would use more than 3.8 billion gallons of water per year. However, the developers, Western Albuquerque Land Holdings and Consensus Planning, Inc., have never been able to obtain the required water availability agreement from the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority.

Without any commitment for the water, developers instead asked the County to approve a project that would not require any demonstration of water availability, seeking to develop only about 630 acres of the 13,700 total acres for a tire recycling plant, a landfill, and other vaguely described uses. 

On March 2nd, the County Planning Commission recommended denial of both plans because the developers could not adequately justify the changes to the Level A Master Plan and could not explain where any water required for the Level B.II plan would come from. Despite the CPC’s recommendation for denial, all Bernalillo County Commission members who were present voted in support of both plans, even after receiving scathing criticism from the public who were 100 percent opposed to both plans. Of the many people who spoke during public comment, all were opposed. Not one person spoke in favor of the Santolina project. …

Past Press Releases

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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Earth Care Leads Community Resistance to Asphalt Plant Expansion in Santa Fe’s Southside Neighborhood

WHAT: Associated Asphalt and Materials LLC’s application to New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau for an Air Quality Permit

WHEN: Public Hearing on the Application is scheduled for March 22, 2021 at 4 p.m. 

WHERE: The Public Hearing will take place virtually and will be presided over by Hearing Officer Gregory Chakalian.

WRITTEN & ORAL COMMENTS: The public may submit written comments by email or post to Pamela Jones, Hearing Clerk, at: Pamela.Jones@state.nm.us or mail them to Pam Jones, Hearing Clerk, New Mexico Environment Department, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505. 

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New Mexico Groups Appeal EPA’s Dirty Water Rule

On Tuesday June 23, 2020 Today three New Mexico based organizations - Amigos Bravos, the New Mexico Acequia Association, and Gila Resources Information Project - joined together to appeal the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers so...

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Copper Flat Mine Rescission of Notice

On March 31, 2020, the Mining and Minerals Division (MMD) of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, rescinded its prior determination that the permit application for the Copper Flat Mine is technically complete. According to the MMD’s order, the mining...

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Leadership Change at the Law Center

Today, January 14, 2020, we are announcing a change in leadership at the Law Center. The announcement from Douglas Meiklejohn provides details about this transition. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Doug, Board member Susanne Hoffman-Dooley...

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Mt Taylor Mine to Close!

In a stunning victory for Native communities, Rio Grande Resources (RGR), owner of the Mt Taylor uranium mine, notified the Mining and Minerals Division (MMD) of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department of “cessation of mining operations” and...

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Eric Jantz Named Environmental Lawyer of the Year

Eric Jantz, Staff Attorney for the nonprofit New Mexico Environmental Law Center, is being honored by the Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law section of the New Mexico Bar Association as Lawyer of the Year. Eric has been with the Law Center for eighteen...

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AND THE WINNER IS: LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center bestowed its annual Toxic Turkey Award to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for nearly six decades of polluting the human and natural environment and continuous violations of basic principles of environmental justice. The...

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