Do Albuquerque’s Air Pollution Policies Violate Civil Rights?

Under the Civil Rights Act, local governments that receive federal money are prohibited from discriminating against low-income people of color…

“These environmental rights, the rights to clean air, clean water—those are civil rights,” said Eric Jantz, an attorney for the New Mexico Environmental Law Center who filed the civil rights complaint with the EPA. “The air quality control board and the environmental health department have a fairly long history of suppressing public input and public activism around this issue.” KUNM

Go to KUNM for full story.

08/08/2016 • Back to top

Reader View: Protect our state’s resources for the future

by Douglas Meiklejohn

The departure of Ryan Flynn from the position of secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department gives the governor an opportunity to do the right thing: appoint a secretary who will carry out the mission of the department.

Published in the Santa Fe New Mexican on August 6, 2016

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08/06/2016 • Back to top

EPA Opens Investigation Into ABQ/Bernalillo County Discriminatory Regulatory Practices

Civil rights. The term encompasses a lot.

In Albuquerque, it means that all residents, regardless of race, ethnicity or country of origin, have the right to breathe clean air…but that right does not translate into healthy air for communities of color. Today we and our client, the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) took one step closer to making healthy air for all communities a reality.

We just received a letter stating that the EPA will investigate our complaint that the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board and City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department (formerly the Air Quality Division) are discriminating against people of color when deciding where to permit air pollution.

Visit case page.

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07/26/2016 • Back to top

Lowered deadline standards on new nuclear cleanup plan worries some

Jon Block, a Santa Fe attorney helping Nuclear Watch in a lawsuit against the Environment Department over the cleanup issue, said consent orders on waste cleanup are supposed to allow states to hold the federal government accountable to complete the clean up. Instead, he argued that the state Environment Department is doing the opposite.

“They’ve turned over the cleanup to the polluter,” Block said in an interview. “Instead of being the enforcer of noncompliance, they’re the cooperator, the negotiator, ‘we’re your pal.’” New Mexico Political Report

Go to New Mexico Political Report for full story.

07/22/2016 • Back to top

Cut the Public Out of Water Pollution Decisions?

NMED’s proposed changes to statewide water rules could cut public out of decisions about water pollution.

not so public
      Click for infographic

New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) is in the process of revising statewide surface water and groundwater regulations for the state. We’ve flagged some significant problems with how the Martinez Administration is trying to strip provisions for public participation and streamline the permitting process for polluters.

Read NMELC’s submitted comments.

This process is far from glamorous. But it’s critically important for New Mexicans who could be impacted by facilities that pollute groundwater (and who might not even know it until it’s too late) if these new rules take effect.

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07/20/2016 • Back to top

Grit: Reflections on a uranium march

Dusty and weary, our small Law Center contingent returned with the other community members to the shelter. The Commemoration Walk marked the 37th anniversary of the United Nuclear radioactive spill – the largest accidental release of radioactive material in U.S. history.

It was a beautiful day punctuated by sharp gusts of wind that drowned out speakers and animated the parachute roof of a new shelter erected by members of Red Water Pond Road Community. After an hour of presentations by residents and allies, a fine layer of dust coated our camera and clothes. We had dust in our eyes and in our ears. Grit in our teeth and nose. Snot turned a grainy black-brown.

Sitting there in the shadow of two abandoned uranium mines, I couldn’t help but think about the dust. And what radioactive particles might be hitched to each blowing speck…

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07/20/2016 • Back to top

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