ALTO, N.M. (KRQE) – “It just doesn’t pass the common sense check to begin with to have a heavy industrial facility in the middle of a residential area, surrounded by 12 neighborhoods.” Nearly two years later, neighbors continue to fight off a proposed concrete batch plant near Alto. If approved, it would be built on six acres of land along Highway 220 Lincoln County. “There’s also just disruption of life, the noise factor, increased traffic that the plant will cause, disruption to our abundant wildlife, we live in a very bucolic area,” said Mark Severance.

Severance, who lives within four miles of the site, is one of several neighbors who has been fighting the proposal. For some time he says there was hope after a hearing officer with the New Mexico Environment Department made a recommendation to deny Roper Construction’s air permit at that site.

But that’s since changed. Roper Construction appealed that recommendation and a meeting was held last month with the Environment Improvement Board which sided with the construction company, giving them the green light to move forward.

Ryan Roper, the President of Roper Construction, who also lives close to the proposed site says concrete is a necessity and due to the limited housing in the area, it’s an ideal spot. He feels rules in place will help protect the area.

Now, the Alto Coalition of Environmental Preservation says they’ll be appealing that decision. They also have two complaints in the 12th District court that are set to be discussed in early May.

While Severance feels they’re bringing a strong case to the table, if the plant goes through, he might find someplace else to call home. “It’s something that my wife and I have talked about and other people are just dead set, yeah if it comes in, I live 10 yards away, I absolutely have to move.”

The New Mexico Environment Department released this statement:

At the March 24, 2023 meeting, the Environment Improvement Board voted in favor of issuing air permit NSR 9295 to Roper Construction. Per the Board’s rules, the Board (or their attorney) must draft a final order and accompanying findings of fact and conclusions of law. Once signed by the Chair, the New Mexico Environment Department will issue the permit to Roper Construction.”