Albuquerque Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board Hearing Last Week

An on-going David versus Goliath fight occurred last week during a public hearing before the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board, a board charged to prevent or abate air pollution.  On the first day of the hearing in the evening of December 4th, the Albuquerque City Council challenging the very existence of the Board and voted to disband it.  As the hearing continued on Tuesday, December 5th, during the public comment period, City Councilor Dan Lewis attended the hearing to enforce the City’s action to dissolve the Board with a Cease and Desist Order.  After some heated words, Councilor Lewis left.  The hearing continued despite the uncertainties that hung over the proceedings.

After decades of working to stop polluting facilities from releasing pollutants into the air and from citing new facilities in already overburdened communities, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Environmental Health Division (EHD) suggested the communities bring forward a draft ordinance, a job the EHD normally does.

Elaine Cimino, of Common Ground Rising, a community based participatory research organization, is a pro se party to the hearing.

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center and their clients drafted a Health Environment and Equity Impact (HEEI) Ordinance, which was presented in July 2023.  The clients’ communities are the Mountain View Neighborhood Association, the Mountain View Community Action , and the Friends of Valle de Oro  The University of New Mexico Law Clinic, under the direction of Gabe Pacyniak, ,  represents the individuals Sofia Martinez and Manuel Criollo.

The proposed HEEI ordinance was opposed by various “polluters,” which comprise asphalt plants, the Board of Regents of the University of New Mexico, business entities, concrete plants, contractors, mining operations, refining terminals, Kirtland Air Force Base, National Nuclear Security Administration, the National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a contractor to Sandia National Laboratory.

The Board held a six-day hearing on the proposed HEEI Ordinance.  In the end, a limited rule was approved in the final hours.  The public will not know the full extent of its limitations until the official final rule is released.

Did you know how harmful air pollutants are to health?  Common Ground Rising has been combatting air pollution in the Albuquerque area by working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, to obtain access to pollution monitoring results gathered by satellites.  Please see Ms Cimino’s December 1, 2023 Closing Statement here.  231201 Elaine Cimino Closing Stmt HEEI Hrg.-3

From the limited data analyzed so far, the NASA researchers estimate that in 2019 there were 50 premature deaths attributable to long-term exposure to PM 2.5, or particulate matter 2.5; and 70 premature deaths due to exposure to ozone; and 1,040 new cases of pediatric asthma due to exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2).  Please see the “Public Policy Statement from the [NASA] Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team (HAQAST) Satellite Data for Environmental Justice,” pp. 3 – 5 of Ms Cimino’s Closing Statement HEEI Hrg-3.pdf.  231201 Elaine Cimino Closing Stmt HEEI Hrg.-3

See also, the demonstration map where nitrogen dioxide (NO2) satellite data was integrated into the map of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. “Inclusion of NO2 data is not only essential but also represents a significant step towards achieving [the goals of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Justice Geographic Information System (EJ GIS) Tool].  Our primary concern is that without the utilization of NO2 satellite data, the Environmental Health Department (EHD) may overlook the potential benefits and insights that such data could bring to the table.” pp. 3 – 4 of Ms Cimino’s November 6, 2023 Proposed Comments for Integration of NO2 Data into the Health Environment and Equity Impact Ordinance (HEEI).  231106 Final Written Comments By E Cimino on HEEI  

These deaths and new cases of pediatric asthma occurred in just one year. Each year of exposure adds up into what is called cumulative impacts to health.  People are sick and suffering.  And overburdened communities bear the brunt.

To learn more about the HEEI Ordinance, please visit the New Mexico Environmental Law Center at .

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  1. Friday, December 15th from noon to 1 pm MT ***  NEW LOCATION DUE TO RECONSTRUCTION OF GUADALUPE BRIDGE.  ***  Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, and others.



  1. Monday, January 8thNM Public Regulation Commission hearing about the proposed New Mexico Gas Company LNG plant in Bernalillo County – public comments needed. For more info: ,



  1. NEW DATE: Holloman 5 Anti-Drone Trial rescheduled to Thursday, January 11th in Otero County, NM.



  1. Wednesday, January 17, 2024 –Public Comments due about Los Alamos National Laboratory Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project Draft Environmental Assessment (DOE/EA-2911) for construction and operation of a new 115 kilovolt (kV) power transmission line and upgrading LANL’s existing infrastructure. CCNS is working on sample public comments for you to use. The Draft EA is available in the NNSA NEPA Reading Room at: or directly at 

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