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Mayor Keller Chooses Environmental Extremists Over Major Economic Development and Jobs

From the office of City Councilor Dan Lewis, District 5 - Mayor Vetoes Legislation that puts checks and balances on rogue Air Quality Control Board.
November 22, 2023

Moments ago, the Albuquerque City Council received Mayor Tim Keller’s veto for Bill O-23-88, which aimed to repeal and replace the Air Quality Control Board, and R-23-176, which imposed a specific moratorium on the Board, preventing it from passing a Health, Environment and Equity Impacts rule without scientific evidence because it is outside of their jurisdiction based on case law.

“By vetoing these bills, the Mayor has put the City of Albuquerque and State of New Mexico at risk of losing thousands of jobs” said City Councilor Dan Lewis. “It’s unfortunate that the Mayor has sided with environmental extremists such as Marla Painter who claims to solely represent the South Valley, and her domestic terrorist husband Mark Rudd of the notorious Weather Underground, and against crucial economic development and thousands of family owned businesses in our City who have expressed grave concern over this proposed rule.”

The Air Quality Control Board has every intention of passing regulations making it extremely difficult, if not entirely impossible for companies to obtain air permits in the City of Albuquerque. The Mayor’s veto message demonstrates that he has serious concerns with the proposed rule, yet he chose to veto the two pieces of Council legislation that would prevent the board from implementing this extreme proposal.

The Albuquerque Journal wrote, “the so-called Health, Environment and Equity Impacts rule is perhaps the most restrictive regulatory rule in New Mexico history. And environmentalists love it because it would apply to a vast array of businesses that require air quality permits — from dry cleaners, auto body shops and concrete plants to schools, hospitals and university facilities.”

The University of New Mexico said, “UNM believes that the proposed regulations will negatively impact UNM operations on main campus and the Health Sciences Center, UNM Hospital, and UNM’s anticipated development of the South Campus TIDD and UNM Health infrastructure.”

Even the City’s Environmental Health Department has grave concerns with the regulations and stated, “the Proposed Rule seemingly applies to any entity that requires an air permit, including small businesses, schools, hotels, office buildings, gas stations, and larger entities.”

The undemocratic decisions and behind-the-scenes deals of the extremists on the Air Board are poised to inflict severe damage on our major employers, putting at risk our capacity to attract businesses essential for job growth. The Air Quality Control Board is scheduled to hear the proposed rule on December 4th-8th.  The City Council has an opportunity to override the Mayor’s veto with 6 votes at the December 4th regular City Council meeting.