AGENDA THURSDAY MEETING, AUGUST 17, 2023
Meeting overview on tonight's topic: Environmental Justice. or eco-justice, is a social movement addressing ecological injustices. It occurs when government
approvals of hazardous waste, resource extraction, and other land use damage local communities, businesses, and resources. The leading indicator is government approvals of developments or regulations not beneficial to local communities. The movement has generated hundreds of studies showing that exposure to environmental harm is inequitably distributed by income and race but impacts all resources and communities stressed by climate change. The Maui fires demonstrate climate change exposes all local property owners to new and horrific outcomes regardless of property value or ethnicity, and we need to be aware of our risk exposure and do what we can to preserve our communities by understanding risks and helping those currently on the front lines (regulatory agencies and the courts).
6:20: Meeting Sign in
6:30 WELCOME, PLEDGE of ALLEGIANCE, and MOMENT OF SILENCE, Frank Comfort, Vice President. Attendance, Richard Schaefer, Secretary. President Elizabeth Haley will explain the operating rules for the 2023 WSCONA meetings. Confirm the nomination of a parliamentarian for 2023 until the next General Meeting and election of officers. (Michael Voorhees).
6:35-6:45 APD NW AREA COMMAND REPORT, Commander David Saladin and Peter Gelabert. Questions for the Commander: what are the impacts on the Command of the revised Open Space/APD patrols? What are the effects of parking lot cameras on local retail crime?
6:50-7:10 Health, Environment & Equity Impacts (HEEI) Regulation, Eric Jantz from the NM Environmental Law Center, will share information about industries' cumulative environmental impacts on Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque acute contamination in other neighborhoods in Bernalillo County and the City of
Albuquerque. The New Mexico Environmental Law Center is supporting local Coalitions and Neighborhood Association against motions filed by industrial businesses attempting to disqualify three Air Board members and the Board in its entirety from participating in the upcoming rule-making for a cumulative impacts regulation over air quality in Bernalillo County. The proposed regulation is called The HEEI regulation. It would require industry and regulatory agencies to account for air pollution's health and environmental impacts from existing and anticipated facilities when evaluating new air pollution permit applications. The regulation would be a significant step toward protecting the health of already overburdened communities. Mr. Jantz will explain subsequent actions, impacts to WSCONA members and Bernalillo County, and how we can help—questions from members and answers from our speaker. WSCONA has posted Links to new information and timelines on the website. Vote on WSCONA resolution.
7:10-7:30 The Propose New Mexico Natural Gas LNG storage facility, Anni Hanna, community outreach, media, and organizing and director of NM Climate Justice. Ms. Hanna will explain subsequent actions, impacts to WSCONA members and Bernalillo County, and how we can help—questions from members and answers from our speaker. WSCONA has posted Links to new information and timelines on the website. Vote on WSCONA resolution.
7:35-7:45 WESTSIDE COALITION OF NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS and MICHAEL T. VOORHEES, Appellants, CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE, a New Mexico municipal corporation, Appellee, and CONSENSUS PLANNING, INC. agent(s) for JUBILEE DEVELOPMENT, LLC, and GROUP II U26 VC, LLC, INTERESTED PARTIES: Guest Speaker: Michal Voorhees provides an update on further developments. Please see www. https/wsconanm.org for the links to funding and progress on the two appeals.
7:45-8:14 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORTS —a reminder of scheduled public meetings and deadlines for comments or participation regarding City and County initiatives.
Parks and Recreation and Open Space Committee Chair (WSCONA Representation on City and County Advisory Committees) - Julie Radoslovich (at- large)
Community Policing Council - Dana Skaar (Treasurer)
Communications Committee Chair - Nick Harrison (At-Large)
Land Committee Chair - Rene' Horvath (At-Large) Issues and meetings
Legislative Committee and Bylaws Revision - Elizabeth Haley (President); Timeline for member's Bylaw comments
Upcoming events for September
8:15 Adjourn to next meeting Draft Letter of Support #1 The Westside Coalition Of Neighborhood Associations Letter in Support of the Mountain View Coalition's Health, Environment & Equity Impacts Regulation Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board Environmental Health Department Attn: Air Board Liaison P.O. Box 1293 Albuquerque, NM 87103 June 2, 2023 Dear Board Members, We, the West side Coalition of Neighborhood Associations and individual members, fully support the Health, Environment, and Equity Impacts (HEEI) Regulation proposed by the Mountain View Coalition that is currently under review by the Albuquerque- Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board. Please enter this letter with all the names appended to the official record. The Mountain View Coalition (made up of Mountain View Neighborhood Association, Mountain View Community Action, and Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge), in partnership with New Mexico Environmental Law Center, filed their historic, precedent-setting cumulative impacts regulation on November 21, 2022, to the Air Quality Control Board. While the industry is lining up to oppose community-driven efforts for long-overdue equity in air permitting, a broad coalition of community-based groups is expressing wholehearted support for the Mountain View Coalition's critically needed regulation.
The proposed rule is the culmination of a decades-long effort by the impacted community to address the disproportionate and cumulative impacts of toxic pollution from industry in low-income communities of color. The pattern and practice of siting and permitting polluting industry in Mountain View and other overburdened neighborhoods has had devastating consequences, resulting in a drastically lower life expectancy compared to wealthier, white communities in Bernalillo County.1 The City of Albuquerque's Environmental Health Department (EHD) has a long history of rubber- stamping air pollution permit applications with no consideration for the cumulative impacts of their decisions; EHD's harmful track record is a blatant example of environmental racism. (Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Place Matters for Health in Bernalillo County: Ensuring Opportunities for Good Health for All, September 2012, pp. 17-18.)
Albuquerque and Bernalillo County are becoming increasingly known for bad air quality —the American Lung Association recently gave Bernalillo County an "F" for air quality related to ozone and a "D" for fine particulate matter —and the health effects associated with air pollution.
As demonstrated in this recent report, air pollution does not affect everyone in Albuquerque equally; the effects of air-polluting industrial permits overwhelmingly impact low-income communities, and communities of color experience the adverse health impacts of air pollution disproportionately.
The new proposed HEEI rule will allow regulators to address the disparate impacts of air pollution negatively impacting the health and quality of life of Bernalillo County residents by giving EHD and the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board the power to deny air pollution permits for facilities proposed in communities already bearing the disproportionate burden of air pollution. This rule will also contribute to better air quality county-wide and provide for a healthier Bernalillo County overall. Additionally, the regulation will attract clean industries to Bernalillo County, stimulate pollution control technology innovation and businesses, and save the County many millions of dollars in health care costs related to air pollution.
The proposed regulations require EHD to deny a permit application if it will be located in an overburdened community and if it negatively impacts the residents' health. Specifically, the HEEI rule requires EHD and the permit applicant to work together first to identify whether the proposed polluting facility will be located in an overburdened community, meaning communities already facing the disparate impacts of existing air pollution.
If the facility's location is in an overburdened community, the applicant must perform a Disparate Impact Screening and evaluate nine identified Health Indicators. The permit application will be denied if any one of the nine health indicators in the area already exceeds the county average for those indicators.
As organizations and individuals who care deeply about environmental justice and are committed to dismantling structural racism, we recognize racial disparities in government policy regarding location decisions for polluting industries. We know that race remains the most significant indicator of the location of polluting projects. 4 We recognize the history of government agencies targeting neighborhoods like Mountain View with harmful businesses impacting vulnerable populations, including children, older people, and people with compromised immune systems. Air pollution exacerbates health conditions, including asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular disease (Sources: American Lung Association, State of the Air 2023, www.lung.org, p. 116. American Lung Association, State of the Air 2023, www.lung.org, p. 12. United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States: A National Report on the Racial and Socio-Economic Characteristics of Communities with Hazardous Waste Sites, 1987.)
And life expectancy. The status quo of issuing air permits in overburdened communities is completely unacceptable on moral and ethical grounds.
For all of the above reasons, we, the undersigned organizations and individuals, urge the Air Quality Control Board to adopt the proposed Health, Environment, and Equity Impacts regulation submitted by the Mountain View Coalition in partnership with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center to address our collective concerns raised above.
[list of organizations and individuals who sign on via a Google form]
Draft Resolution #2 This Resolution By the West Side Coalition of Neighborhood Associations ( WSCONA) is against the approval of a new Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Facility located in southwest Rio Rancho, Sandoval County, proximal to the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County residential and commercial areas, schools, parks, the Petroglyph National Monument, and airport with fuel storage areas and a major gas pipeline. Whereas: Concerns about LNG facilities and disaster risk potentials inherent in truck transportation of large LNG transport containers by trucks and rail would occur over a roadway with lane limitations due to proximity to the National Monument. Whereas: Congress has long mandated that federal safety agencies, including the Energy and Minerals Division of the General Accounting Office (GSA), share responsibilities in regulating LNG operations and specifically advised that LNG facility proponents should seek remote siting. (As one former Director of the Energy and Minerals Division of GSA put it: "We believe remote siting is the primary safety factor. Because of the inevitable uncertainties inherent in large-scale use of new technologies and the vulnerability of the facilities to natural phenomena and sabotage, the public can be best protected by placing these facilities away from densely populated areas." (CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Import Terminals: Siting, Safety, and Regulation at 19, (December 14, 2009), https:// www.everycrsreport.com/files/ 20091214_RL32205_e95cb50c88dbd56a2c8f706b2d521ef7ae81ee00.pdf,) Whereas: The New Mexico Natural Gas Company has conflated the security of natural gas supplies with a New Mexico Public Utility Commission (PRC) request to lower gas costs during extreme winter emergencies for customers. The storage plant will cost Whereas: the plant contributes to methane gas emissions. Colorado State University has made thousands of methane emissions measurements for the past five years at more than 700 facilities in the natural gas supply chain's production, processing, transmission, and storage segments. This study synthesized the results from a five-year series of 16 studies coordinated by the environmental advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which involved more than 140 researchers from over 40 institutions and 50 natural gas companies. Natural gas leaks are predominantly methane since the natural gas delivered to your home is 85 to 95 percent methane. While methane poses the greatest threat to the climate because of its greenhouse gas potency, natural gas contains other hydrocarbons that can degrade regional air quality and are bad for human health.
Whereas: The capacity of the proposed storage plant does not equate to emergency load needs, and gas use will decrease as much of the recent increases are stopgap transitional uses as new renewable energy replaces the capacity of coal-fired power plants. Many Gas Companies sell LNG to overseas markets. The Northeast and West consume the least natural gas in the United States, at about 12.2 Bcf/d each (2022). When adding pipeline exports from the West to Mexico, the West accounts for a larger share of total U.S. demand than the Northeast. This data point may be the actual motivation for the proposed facility(export sales). This proposed facility may result in a stranded asset only of value to the corporation's foreign market sales rather than New Mexico consumers. Be it resolved: A majority quorum of eligible WSCONA members approve a resolution at an August 17, 2023 meeting. A majority believe that the probability of an LNG release disaster is unlikely. Still, given the dangerous proximity of the LNG facility's location, the lack of justification FOR the facility, the significant required investment ($180 million) without improving consumer rates, the consumer rate increases expected, and the lack of economic reason benefiting New Mexico ratepayers, the risk does not outweigh the benefits. Please reject the approval of this facility.