Environmental justice campaign
On the Southside of Santa Fe, off of Airport Road, our neighborhoods are surrounded by pieces of land zoned for Industry, meaning we live, work, and play next to polluting industry. In 2019, we learned that our backyard Associated Asphalt & Materials Co was applying for a new air quality permit to essentially operate 24/7. We worked with residents, folks working next to this plant, and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center to push back the permitting process. We also organized almost 100 residents to attend the NMED hearing on the permit. We were shut down and faced language barriers in voicing our concerns about the plant. One of our members filed a civil rights complaint due to the treatment she faced when she was providing public comment during the hearing. New Mexico is a bilingual state, yet during state administrative public hearings they do not allocate resources for interpretation and translation.
Language justice necessitates that we create inclusive multilingual spaces where all voices are valued and included. It is our right to have our voices be heard in our language.
Now, the NMED has approved the permit.
We have an Environmental Improvement Board Hearing February 23-25, 2022. More information to come...
Thank you to the NMELC for their legal work in this case!
The combined effects of COVID-19, which disproportionately affects “essential,” low-income workers who live on the Southside, and increased air pollution from a variety of businesses in the area zoned Commercial/Industrial, cannot be overstated. Pre-existing conditions like asthma leave people of all ages at greater risk during the pandemic.
Along with the NM Environmental Law Center & local community residents we have kicking off a campaign to fight the expansion of asphalt plants in our neighborhoods, located near multiple predominantly low-income communities of color in Southside Santa Fe off of 599 -- and make sure our communities voices are heard in the decision-making process.
“This area has rapidly taken on the characteristics of a sacrifice zone,” says Earth Care co-director Miguel Acosta. “The neighborhoods were annexed in the last ten years by the City of Santa Fe after being neglected by the county for many decades. The city and county’s collective neglect has now turned more deadly as children and families that are the last to be tested, last to be vaccinated, most likely to be exposed to COVID 19 and least likely to have health insurance, are the most likely to suffer from the cumulative impacts on their health. Recovering from the pandemic and building a just, healthy, anti-racist and equitable community go hand in hand.”
IN THE NEWS
DECEMBER 2, 2020 (SF REPORTER)
Season 4 Episode 3: Targeted Pollution Podcast - Listen Here