Environmental racism has been a problem in the United States for years. However, New Mexico residents are working to combat it. Santa Fes Southside continues to fight against environmental injustices thatdisproportionately impact marginalized groups. Albuquerques South Valley also continues its efforts.
Associated Asphalt and Materials was granted a permit by the New Mexico Environment Department in Santa Fes Southside last summer to consolidate two plants that were located on Highway 599 north of Airport Road. The west side of Highway 599 is the responsibility of the other plants. Miguel Acosta, co-director of the project, is not. EarthCareLinda Marianiello, a Tierra Contenta resident and a non-profit dedicated to ecological health and justice, started conversations against consolidation in 2020 after the permit was requested in Dec 2019.
Marianiello, Acosta, and Marianiello remain at the forefront in the fight against such operations. A virtual meeting was held on Tuesday April 19 to provide updates on past and current happenings.
Marianiello and Acosta started to form a legal team in February 2020. The AppealThe application against the asphalt consolidation permit was made in August 2021. Proceedings began in February. The team just concluded closing arguments on Monday April 18 and does not expect a decision before summer.
Maslyn Locke (New Mexico Environmental Law Center attorney) was one of the group’s legal representatives. She explained the future timeline at meeting: The appeal goes first to a hearing officer, who has 30 calendar days to make a recommendation. Next, it goes to the Environmental Improvement Board which will decide what the next steps are. They will likely not get a decision back before July at the latest.
Despite the fact Associated Asphalt Materials will be violating ambient quality standards, the permit was issued by the department. Locke also stated that the environment division did a lot of gymnastics in order to explain away some issues in the air-dispersion modeling that were either illegal or can’t really be verified by anyone.
Santa Fes Southside, which is home to many low-income residents, immigrants, people and families of colour, would be affected by this consolidation. Albuquerques South Valley, which is dominated by Hispanic residents, had a median household income that was almost $10,000 lower than New Mexico’s overall median household income in 2019.
The Albuquerques South Valley community has been fighting against industrialization for many years. Albuquerques Environmental Health Department issued a second air pollution alert last year. permitMountain View neighborhood, in addition to many other requests for permits that have occurred in the South Valley.
Mountain View residents who live in an historic residential and agricultural community near the Rio Grande in South Valley are fed-up with being the dumping ground of decades of dirty industry, Gwynne Anne Unruh reported. The Paper.
Richard Moore, co-coordinator for the meeting, was present Los Jardines InstituteA volunteer-run justice agency, referred to the difficulties that Mountain View in the South Valley has faced, similar to the Southside of Santa Fe. He said that this is a state-wide issue. Moore said that the institute is working to form a group to raise these issues to Bernalillo County’s Air Quality Control Board.
Moore stated that we would love to be able go statewide. We will need all our sisters and brothers, not just in the Southside, Santa Fe, but also the South Valley, Albuquerque, and other rural and urban communities throughout the state.
Domenica Nieto, EarthCare assistant, stated that there is not enough data or information on the virus’ negative effects on asphalt consolidation. There are many other factors that can be considered. negative health effectsNumerous cancers were found after repeated exposure to asphalt.
Nieto stated that the community’s impact of the consolidated planning operation should be considered in the context COVID-19, and cumulative air quality impacts on the area. Nieto made this statement in a 2022 public comments video which was shown at the meeting. We don’t believe there was sufficient information or data to allow the NMED approval of the request for Associated Asphalt permits.
These are not the only problems local communities living in marginalized areas have been dealing with. Santa Feans participated in the March 2021 first public hearing about Associated Asphalts airquality permit. However, a Spanish-speaking individual was asked to speak English after the translator was delayed for a while. According to Acosta, Acosta stated that this discouraged other Spanish-speaking participants from commenting.
Acosta claimed that this violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 64, which prohibits discrimination or exclusion of individuals in federally funded programs. Acosta stated that they have met with the Environmental Protection Agency to resolve the issue. However, Source New Mexico reportedThe state countered with the argument that Spanish interpreters were present at the hearings both in person and via Zoom. The state also dismissed community concerns regarding civil rights violations by claiming that the board has no authority over them.
Airport Road corridor will work with the Southside in an effort to end the injustices. New Mexico MainStreetTo help the community solve many of its problems and to revitalize positive cultural mainstays. The application was submitted last year, and it was recently approved. Next month, meetings will begin to discuss the partnership. Discussions about final work plans will continue until September.
Public health researchers around the world have found a link between pollution, industrial contaminants, poverty and higher rates and spread of disease. Acosta stated that it is very likely that the Southside has seen higher death and infection rates due to living near an expanding industrial zone. Make sure you are vaccinated. Wash your hands. Cesar Chavez said, “Organize, organize and organize.”
Megan Gleason serves as the Editor-in Chief of the Daily Lobo. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow @fabflutist2716 on Twitter