My organization is negatively affected by COVID-19. What do I do now?
We’re in this together, and we are here to help. The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) is ready to assist the oil and natural gas industry in understanding how to navigate regulatory questions during this Public Health Emergency (Executive Order 2020-004, issued March 11, 2020). Please do not hesitate to contact us!
Though our physical offices across the state are closed, NMED remains open and dedicated to its mission to protect public health and the environment. NMED staff throughout our regulatory programs continue to interact with and assist stakeholders with applications for permits and licenses, compliance with applicable regulatory requirements, and rule development and implementation.
COVID-19 is a highly infectious and fast-spreading virus. Symptoms and their effects can range from mild to severe and in certain cases result in extreme health complications and death. Positive cases have been identified in communities across New Mexico. State health officials continue to test, process, monitor and track instances of the virus — and the state of New Mexico has taken proactive, aggressive public health actions to mitigate the spread of the disease.
We’re continuing to protect public health and the environment
NMED has been delegated authority by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement programs under the federal Clean Air Act that are essential for the protection of public health and the environment. Such programs include the primary national ambient air quality standards, which are the public’s first line of defense against exposure to harmful levels of air pollution. These standards are health-based and are designed to protect the most vulnerable populations. The secondary ambient air quality standards protect against decreased visibility and damage to animals, crops, vegetation, and buildings. NMED also regulates sources that emit toxic and hazardous air pollutants, sources that contribute to haze and smog at national parks, and greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
Air pollution above protective limits may lead to serious health effects, including respiratory problems, aggravation of existing heart and lung conditions, and premature death. Ensuring that sources emit below these limits and that the public and the environment are protected from the negative effects of air pollution are among NMED’s highest priorities. NMED’s oversight of compliance with air permits and regulations is therefore critically important to its mission.