Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

City Petitions Air Board to introduce the Clean Cars Rule – City of Albuquerque

Today, the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Joint Air Quality Program, which administers and enforces local air quality laws for the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County on behalf of the city’s Environmental Health Department, petitioned the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board ( Air Board) and requested it to pass new regulations that implement California’s emission standards for automobiles beginning in the 2026 model year.

The Air Quality Program, in collaboration with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), developed the proposed Clean Cars Rule over a period of eight months with extensive stakeholder engagement. NMED recently petitioned the State Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) to adopt a nearly identical rule. Together, the Clean Cars Rules will work as part of a statewide program to ensure statewide compliance and cleaner air for all New Mexicans.

“We are demanding the Clean Cars Rule consistent with the Keller administration’s agenda to make Albuquerque more sustainable,” he said Associate Director of Environmental Health Mara Elana Burstein. “This rule will be an important tool to mitigate the effects of climate change, reduce air pollution and improve the health of all our residents.”

If adopted, the proposed Clean Cars Rule would impose stricter emissions standards for new motor vehicles in New Mexico beginning in the 2026 model year, the earliest that federal law will allow New Mexico to implement the new standards. Clean Cars Rule emissions standards will improve air quality by reducing ground-level ozone and emissions of greenhouse gases and particulate matter. The transportation sector is the second largest source of climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions in New Mexico. It is also a major source of ozone-forming pollutants. Local ozone levels are rising, negatively impacting public health, particularly for vulnerable communities.

The City is asking the Air Board to place the petition on the agenda of its February 9, 2022 meeting and for the Air Board to consider authorizing a joint hearing with the EIB to jointly hear the proposed Clean Cars Rules. If the Air Board approves a hearing, it is expected to be scheduled for May 2022. Joint review of the city and state’s proposed rules will ensure standards are consistent statewide in accordance with federal requirements.

The Air Board agenda will be released on February 4, 2022 and is available here: https://www.cabq.gov/airquality/air-quality-control-board/events/february-9-2022-air-quality-control-board-meeting -1

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