Skip to main content

Preliminary Injunction Halts Enforcement of Controversial City Ordinance

City Council overstep poses legal questions.
January 26, 2024

ALBUQUERQUE – Councilor Fiebelkorn applauds the decision Thursday afternoon by the First Judicial Court of New Mexico. Judge Francis J. Mathew’s preliminary injunction halts the changes made to the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board when the Council passed an ordinance removing City of Albuquerque appointed members and making numerous changes to how the board operates.

“City Council overstepped its authority in a rush to silence community voices during an ongoing legal rulemaking process at the Air Quality Control Board. We don’t have the authority to unilaterally stop a rulemaking midstream without even consulting our partner – Bernalillo County.” said Councilor Fiebelkorn.

The AQCB is authorized under federal and state law as an independent authority. Its mandate is to control and abate air quality and protect public health. Changes to the board requirements or operating rules requires agreement between the City and County.

The passage of the ordinance raised substantial legal questions. There are questions regarding its validity and alignment with environmental regulatory norms. In his ruling, Judge Mathew emphasized that the injunction was necessary due to the likelihood that the AQCB would prevail on the merits of the case. He also noted the potential harm in allowing the enforcement of an ordinance that might be ultimately found unlawful.

The injunction reinstates the current members until the judge makes a ruling on whether or not the council resolution is legal.

Councilor Fiebelkorn added “I welcome the return of the duly appointed experts who serve on the AQCB. These highly qualified and dedicated volunteers, despite being treated disrespectfully over the past few months, continued their work diligently. I appreciate their commitment to the citizens of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.”