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Asphalt Plant Proposal Sparks Public Meetings

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Albuquerque’s Environmental Health Department is going to hold hearings on a proposal to build an around-the-clock hot-mix asphalt plant less than half a mile from the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in the South Valley. The department received 156 public comments on the plan. 

Ric Watson is the president of the Friends of Valle de Oro. He said his volunteer group is concerned about chemical emissions and the bright lights from an asphalt plant operating 24/7.

"It is going to have a lot of trucks in and out of their plant," he said. "And indeed there may be smells coming from it. With an asphalt plant, there are a lot of typical tar smells that you will get into the air."

He added that the region of the South Valley—the Mountain View neighborhood—is already overloaded with heavy industry. "When you look at all the toxins and pollution that are emitted in this area, it is too many of them, and there are high rates of cancer and asthma identified in this particular area." 

The hearings about Albuquerque Asphalt’s permit application will likely happen in June or July, and a decision to approve the location has to be made by August 26. 

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Read the full permit application here.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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