In a recent development, Mayor Tim Keller has vetoed Bill O-23-88 and R-23-176, sending ripples through the Albuquerque City Council. The bills aimed to repeal and replace the Air Quality Control Board and impose a moratorium on the board, restricting its ability to pass a Health, Environment, and Equity Impacts rule without scientific evidence, arguing it falls beyond its jurisdiction based on case law.
City Councilor Dan Lewis expressed concern, stating, “By vetoing these bills, the Mayor has put the City of Albuquerque and the State of New Mexico at risk of losing thousands of jobs.”
Lewis criticized the Mayor for siding with enviro-Marxists, particularly mentioning Marla Painter, whom he accused of representing only the South Valley, and her husband Mark Rudd, a domestic terrorist associated with the Weather Underground. Lewis argued that the veto goes against economic development and the interests of numerous family-owned businesses, expressing grave concerns about the proposed rule. In a press release, Lewis wrote that the veto “puts checks and balances on rogue Air Quality Control Board.”
According to Lewis, the Air Quality Control Board intends to implement regulations that would make it extremely challenging, if not impossible, for companies to obtain air permits in Albuquerque. Despite the Mayor expressing serious concerns with the proposed rule, he chose to veto the legislation, preventing the board from moving forward with these regulations.
The Albuquerque Journal characterized the proposed Health, Environment, and Equity Impacts rule as “perhaps the most restrictive regulatory rule in New Mexico history,” with environmentalists supporting its broad application to various businesses requiring air quality permits, from small enterprises to schools, hospitals, and more.
The University of New Mexico voiced its apprehension, stating that the proposed regulations could negatively impact UNM operations on the main campus, the Health Sciences Center, UNM Hospital, and anticipated developments like the South Campus TIDD and UNM Health infrastructure.
Even the City’s Environmental Health Department expressed concerns, noting that the proposed rule seemingly applies to a wide range of entities, including small businesses, schools, hotels, office buildings, gas stations, and larger corporations.
The undemocratic decisions and alleged behind-the-scenes deals of the Air Quality Control Board are now a cause for concern, potentially harming major employers and jeopardizing the city’s ability to attract businesses crucial for job growth. The Air Quality Control Board is set to review the proposed rule from December 4th to 8th. The City Council will have an opportunity to override the Mayor’s veto with six votes at the regular meeting on December 4th.