ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – On a good day, Marla Painter says you can smell the fresh air in the South Valley. On others, she says all you smell are chemicals coming from the many industrial developments in the area.
“We have just seen one air permit after another rubber-stamped without any consideration for the health and wellbeing of the community,” Painter says. She feels the South Valley, her home for the last 25 years, has become a haven for industrial developments.
For her health’s sake, she says enough is enough. “We deserve to live in a beautiful, pollution-free community as they do in the Heights. It’s not fair that a certain class of people, a certain group of people, are expected to take all the dirty stuff.”
Painter is the President of the Mountain View Community Action group. It’s one of several groups pushing the Air Quality Control Board for a new regulation. It would tighten the rules for businesses seeking air permits in the South Valley and the rest of Bernalillo County. “Nobody’s going to be booted out, nobody is going to be asked to leave at all, no permits would be taken. It’s just simply no more, no more of this, we have our share,” Painter explains.
As Painter says, it would add another layer of consideration when looking at the air permit application. The Mountain View Neighborhood Association, Mountain View Community Action –and the Friends of Valle De Oro National Wildlife Refuge – have been fighting this fight for years and are hopeful this time is the right time. “This regulation is going to hurt no one and it’s going to benefit many people, and I hope that the business community realizes that and understands that,” Painter says.
She believes there’s more awareness now than ever before of how the environment can affect our health and because of that, is confident it will make for a positive ending. The regulation will be introduced at the Air Quality Control Board Meeting Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.