Public Comment Needed on NM Water Quality Standards
HELP US PROTECT THE RIVERS, STREAMS AND LAKES
THAT YOU CARE ABOUT
The federal Clean Water Act and the New Mexico Water Quality Act require the State to
review its surface water quality regulations at least every three years in a public hearing
process called the Triennial Review. The hearing offers the public an opportunity to
advocate for stronger water quality protections and oppose proposed amendments that
will weaken existing surface water regulations.
New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission will begin the Triennial Review public hearing on
Tuesday, July 13, 2021. The virtual hearing, viewable online via WebEx, will gather
evidence in support of and in opposition to proposed amendments to existing surface
water quality regulations. The public can submit written comments now through the end of the
multi-day hearing, which is expected to last 4 -10 days. Oral comments up to 5 minutes will
be allowed twice each day of the hearing via WebEx.
TALKING POINTS FOR PUBLIC COMMENT
1) Oppose a Limited Definition of Climate Change: The New Mexico Environment
Department (NMED) is proposing a new definition of “climate change” that doesn’t
identity climate change as predominantly human caused.
Talking Points: Urge the Commission to adopt a definition of climate change that identifies
human activities as the major cause of climate change and to specify combatting climate
change as a purpose of the regulations.
2) Support Standards for Contaminants of Emerging Concern: NMED is proposing a new
definition of “Contaminants of Emerging Concern” (CEC), while Los Alamos National
Laboratory (LANL) and the New Mexico Mining Association (NMMA) are opposing adding a
CEC definition and CEC monitoring requirements to the standards.
Talking Points: Support adoption of a CEC definition that clearly gives NMED the
authority to required monitoring CECs. Support adding PFAS to the CEC definition as an
example of CECs. PFAS are perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances that are a group
of man-made chemicals that research has shown to affect reproductive health, increase
the risk of some cancers, affect childhood development, increase cholesterol levels,
weaken the immune system, and interfere with the body’s hormones. PFAS have been measured in the Gila River.
3) Say “No!” to Toxic Fish: LANL is proposing to substantially limit the number of
waters, including waters on LANL’s property, that currently receive protections under
the Human Health – Organism Only (HH-OO) criteria for toxic pollutants. These criteria
protect human health by ensuring that pollutants dangerous to human health do not
build up in fish and other aquatic life that humans ingest.
Talking Point: Oppose LANL’s proposal to weaken HH-00 criteria because the fish we
catch in our rivers, streams, reservoirs, and lakes must be kept safe to eat.
4) Support the Existing Definition of Toxic Pollutants: LANL and the NMMA propose
to limit the definition of “toxic pollutant” to only toxic pollutants listed in an outdated
Talking Point: New Mexico should not cede is authority to identify and regulate toxic
pollutants based on an outdated federal list of toxic pollutants.
5) Oppose Limited Monitoring for LANL: LANL proposes to limit monitoring to an
outdated EPA list of monitoring methods for purposes of permit compliance and
Talking Points: This proposal would prevent effective monitoring of PCBs and PFAS.
Express your objection that the U.S. Department of Energy and LANL are spending
taxpayer dollars to fight state efforts to protect waters from persistent and harmful
CCW/GRIP Sample Public Comments
HOW TO SHARE YOUR COMMENTS
Public comment times will be every day between 5:00 – 6 pm beginning July 13 and will
8:00 – 9:00 am beginning July 14 until the hearing concludes. The Commission will begin
to take comments at 5:00 pm on the first day of the hearing and at 8:00 am on
subsequent hearing days. The public comment period will conclude after the last person
present speaks during each one-hour time slot. Therefore, members of the public who
wish to speak should plan to be available at 8:00 am or 5:00 pm on the day they intend
to offer comment.
Members of the public will have up to 5 minutes to speak. People can (but are not
required to) sign up ahead of time to speak on certain days and times by emailing the
Commission Administrator Pam Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org
To ensure you have the most current information, please visit the WQCC website prior
to the hearing for any updates:
TO CONNECT TO THE TRIENNIAL REVIEW PUBLIC HEARING
1) To join via WebEx, copy and paste this link into your browser:
Enter meeting number: 177 706 1008
Host key: 171483
2) To join by phone, dial 1-415-655-0001
Access code: 177 706 1008
3) To submit written comments via snail mail or email, send to:
Office of Public Facilitation
New Mexico Environment Department
P.O. Box 5469
Santa Fe, NM 87502
*Please reference docket number WQCC 20-51(R) in the subject line of your email.