EPA investigating alleged discrimination by air quality board

Two years after a community advocacy group filed a complaint against a City of Albuquerque department, a federal agency confirmed it will conduct an investigation into the Albuquerque Air Quality Division and its governing board. Members of the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) filed a complaint in 2014 against the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board and the Air Quality Division. The group said industrial businesses are allowed to overly pollute neighborhoods occupied predominantly people of color. The complaint also alleged the city board discriminated against community members who live in affected neighborhoods by denying them a public hearing. Now, the federal Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the claims.

Juan Reynosa, a field organizer with SWOP, said his group tried to work with the board for years to lessen the effects of pollution from industrial businesses near residential neighborhoods.