Help us fight the North Valley cement plant polluter

American Cement Legal Fund Donations
The Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Air Quality Division has recently approved a permit for American Cement to operate 24/7 in the North Valley. The new permit lacks adequate conditions to ensure the health and qualiy of life for neighbrhood residents.

On November 2, 2009, the Greater Gardner Neighborhood Association and North Valley Coalition of Neighborhood Associations filed a petition to appeal the decision to approve the American Cement Air Quality Permit 0902-M3. An appeal hearing will take place within 60 days. We desperately need help paying legal fees for the appeal, which are estimated to be between $5,000 and $15,000. The law firm of Nancy L. Simmons has agreed to represent the neighborhood and has provided some pro bono support at no cost, but there's a lot of work ahead that requires financial support.

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The new permit lacks adequate conditions to ensure the health and qualiy of life for neighbrhood (sic) residents.

Can you elaborate?
There is no fenceline monitoring for emissions. There have been continual air pollution violations - they say it mostly occurred while under the previous ownership, but violations have happened since then and even recently. The Air Quality Division "negotiated" with them for lower penalties earlier. Now they will have free rein to emit much more cement dust into the air and truck traffic will be allowed all day and all night. The "environmentalist" paid to monitor the standards is employed by the company, Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. Conflict of interest. They see paying fines for violations as simply part of doing business. This is a huge, multi-national corporation. The station sits smack dab in the middle of a residential area.
How did a cement plant wind up in the middle of a residential neighborhood? Has it been there a while?

If you look at the zoning on either side of the railroad tracks through the city it is a wacky mix of commercial, residential and industrial. Things were built before zoning and made legal non-conforming, housing in some areas supposed to move over time, odd decisions were made. So now there are uses that really do not work together that are side by side.
The neighborhood was there before the cement transfer station came in. Another complaint is what this did to their home values.
Just looked at the location on Google maps. That is messed up. However, having spent a good amount of time in that part of town I would characterize it as 75% light industrial and 25% residential.

Anyone who has ever purchased a home knows that part of the appraisal deals with the surrounding neighborhood, zoning and potential land-use changes. I sympathize with the homeowners, but liken this situation to someone who buys a house next to an airport and then complains about the noise.
Muskrat, FTR, the neighborhood was there BEFORE the cement transfer plant.
Yes, I got that. But from the looks of it that part of town has always had a significant number of "industrial" businesses, no?

My point above was that if you choose to reside in or near such an area pretty much all bets are off in terms of future development. A smelter is probably out of the question, but the transfer plant really does not seem too out of line with the other types of businesses in the area.
future development is based upon the will of the residents, there is no fait accompli to the tension between industrial vs. residential land uses. in fact, historically, industrial uses have relocated or cleaned up their processes, either due to local pressure or the increasing costs of doing business within the center of a growing city.

but look at this map. it shows an originally residential-scaled platting where the facility sits, and the M-1 zone is smacked right up against an R-1 zone.

that this was approved in the past is astonishing to me - preventing a situation like this is precisely why use-based zoning was established.

Agree entirely. The one and only point I am trying to make is that this situation, ridiculous as it is, has existed for quite some time. Anyone who buys a home in Albuquerque needs to have a basic understanding of zoning and land use and how it may impact them in the future.

Before considering any real-estate purchase, I would recommend a trip down to the city's Planning department. A good place to start would be finding out if your intended neighborhood has a sector development plan. These documents, though somewhat pie-in-the-sky, go in to great detail regarding current zoning and land use and issues like having cement transfer stations across the street from single family homes. In fact, it looks like your aerial photo is lifted from one.

I'm kind of a map geek so I can stare at this stuff for hours.
Muskrat, most people in our neighborhood didn't have the opportunity or "luxury" to research zoning laws before settling where they did. Residents don't deserve to breathe air pollution in the middle of the city for not having your "expertise". Anyway..
dust is a major contributor to asthma and lung related problems... in the central valley in calif because of farming activity (large corporate farms and dairies) there is an especially high rate of asthma... I would not want to live in a neighborhood with this amount of dust... eeegads.... y'all should contact the American Lung Assoc. and see if they can help in any way.


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