Governor signs measure boosting N.M.’s environmental regulation authority
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday signed Senate Bill 8, allowing the state and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County to adopt environmental regulations more stringent than those at the federal level.
“This legislation allows the state to make sure our environmental laws are the best they can be for New Mexico,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “We’ve seen the devastating effects of a federal administration that does not prioritize public health and the environment – now, New Mexico is in the driver’s seat.”
The bill was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, Sen. Linda Lopez, Rep. Nathan Small and Rep. Christine Chandler.
“This important new law gives New Mexico regulators the tools to enact consistent environmental regulations that protect our air and water,” said Leader Wirth. “I’d like to recognize all of the bill’s co-sponsors and thank Governor Lujan Grisham for signing this landmark environmental legislation.”
“New Mexico’s environment is precious, and key to growing our economy and creating jobs. Setting health and safety standards based solely on a federal one-size-fits-all approach isn’t enough. That’s why state and local governments need the freedom to adopt appropriate environmental standards,” said lead House sponsor Rep. Nathan Small. “SB 8 will allow us to get ahead of the curve in addressing the looming climate crisis, and remove harmful pollutants from the air we breathe.”
Currently, the state’s laws that govern air quality and hazardous waste include provisions that prevent the state from adopting rules more stringent than those of the federal government.
Senate Bill 8 amends those laws to remove that provision, making it possible for the state’s environmental improvement board to promulgate rules that result in additional reductions of air pollutants and more safeguards for the handling of hazardous waste. It would also allow the state to develop rules related to the remediation of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which the federal government does not currently regulate.
The new law also allows the Albuquerque-Bernalillo Air Quality Control Board, which is not under the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Environment Department, to adopt air quality regulations more stringent than federal law.
The legislation does not require any entity to adopt more stringent regulations. In addition, robust public and stakeholder engagement and hearings through the state’s environmental improvement board will continue to be in place to ensure any proposed rules are thoroughly evaluated before being implemented.