The Albuquerque – Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board (Air Board) is the federally delegated air quality authority for Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. Local delegation authorizes the Air Board to administer and enforce the Clean Air Act and the New Mexico Air Quality Control Act, and to require local air pollution sources to comply with its air quality standards and regulations. The Albuquerque Air Quality Division (AQD) acts as an agent to the Air Board. In this capacity, the AQD enforces the Air Board’s rules as codified under Title 20, Environmental Protection, Chapter 11, Albuquerque – Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board, of the New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC). Periodically the AQD will propose regulatory changes to the Air Board in response to new federal legislation or because of a local air quality issue.
Once an issue is identified, a strategy is developed to address it. The solution may call for a change in the current air quality rules, or even an entirely new rule. Proposed rule amendments are generally proposed by the Section with expertise in that particular area. Then the Control Strategies Section in conjunction with the Regulatory Development Committee develops a Stakeholder Review Draft. This draft is presented to the affected stakeholders to receive their input through meetings and written comments. Following this stakeholder outreach process, a revised draft is presented to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their review. When AQD and EPA have reached a consensus, the resulting Public Review Draft is presented to the Air Board along with a Petition for Hearing, and if approved is then released to the public for comment for at least 30 days, but usually for 60 days or more. Any proposed amendments to the air quality rules must be adopted by the Air Board at a public hearing. In addition, most proposed amendments must also be approved by the EPA after adoption by the Air Board.