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Environment Department
Air Quality Bureau

Proposed Air Quality Regulations and Plans


Following are summaries of proposed new air quality regulations and proposed amendments to existing regulations and the New Mexico State Implementation Plan. For updates, please periodically check back at this webpage. For information on policies and procedures for air quality permitting, please go to the Permitting Home Page.


Proposed Infrastructure Certification for the 2008 Ozone Revised National Ambient Air Quality Standard

 The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) announces an opportunity to comment on and/or request a public hearing on a proposed certification that New Mexico has an adequate, federally-approved State Implementation Plan (SIP) that addresses all elements of a Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 110(a)(2) infrastructure plan (“i-SIP”), as applicable to the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). The purpose of the proposed certification is to confirm to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the State of New Mexico has the required “infrastructure” in place under the current SIP to implement, maintain, and enforce the 2008 ozone revised NAAQS, promulgated by the EPA on March 12, 2008 (73 FR 16436, March 27, 2008).

Specifically, this certification addresses CAA Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), which requires that New Mexico’s SIP prohibit emissions that will significantly contribute to nonattainment of a NAAQS or interfere with maintenance of a NAAQS in a downwind state. Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) is referred to as the “Good Neighbor Provision” and to SIP revisions addressing this requirement as “Good Neighbor SIPs”. Based on EPA guidance, these provisions were not addressed in NMED’s original i-SIP certification for the 2008 ozone NAAQS.

All comments must be received by June 27, 2018. If a request for a public hearing is received during the 30-day public comment period, a hearing date, time and location will be announced at a later date,

For more information, contact Neal Butt at or by phone at (505) 476-4317.

NewProposed Dust Mitigation Plan and Fugitive Dust Rule

On September 16, 2016, the Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed revisions to the Exceptional Events Rule with the final rule published in the Federal Register on October 3, 2016. Section V. of the preamble (81 FR 68270) addresses Mitigation. The CAA (Section 319(b)(3)(A)) identifies five guiding principles for developing implementing regulations of exceptional events:

  1. Protection of public health is the highest priority;
  2. Timely information should be provided to the public in any case in which the air quality is unhealthy;
  3. All ambient air quality data should be included in a timely manner in an appropriate federal air quality database that is accessible to the public;
  4. Each state must take necessary measures to safeguard public health regardless of the source of the air pollution; and
  5. Air quality data should be carefully screened to ensure that events not likely to recur are represented accurately in all monitoring data and analyses.

The final rule requires the development of mitigation plans in areas with “historically documented” or “known seasonal” exceptional events of the same type and pollutant (i.e., high wind dust/PM10) that recur annually or seasonally. Three events within a 3-year period constitutes recurrence, although EPA will treat a season with multiple events (e.g., wildfires) as one event. Luna County and the Anthony PM10 nonattainment area are included in the list of areas required to be covered by mitigation plans.

NMED is required to submit a mitigation plan to Region 6 by September 30, 2018. After this time, EPA will not concur with our requests to exclude data influenced by an event of the type subject to the required mitigation plan.

Mitigation plans must contain the following elements:

  1. Public notification to and education programs for affected or potentially affected communities. Identified potential outreach mechanisms include web site alerts, National Weather Service alerts, telephone or text bulletins, television or radio campaigns or other messaging campaigns.
  2. Steps to identify, study and implement mitigating measures that address the following:
    • Mandatory or voluntary measures to abate or minimize contributing controllable sources of identified pollutants that are within the jurisdiction of NMED;
    • Methods to minimize public exposure to high concentrations of identified pollutants;
    • Processes to collect and maintain data pertinent to the event; and
    • Mechanisms to consult with other air quality managers in the affected area regarding the appropriate responses to abate and minimize impacts.

Mitigation plan development must contain provisions for review and evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of the plan by the air agency and all interested stakeholders, such as public and private land owners/managers, agriculture and forestry agencies, and the public. The department held an initial public comment period through April 30, 2018 on the draft mitigation plans and incorporated input into the drafts found below. Public comments on these drafts will be received until September 4, 2018.  All public comments will be addressed by the department before submitting the plan to EPA.

A fugitive dust rule is being developed in conjunction with the mitigation plan to detail mandatory measures to abate certain controllable sources. A public hearing has been scheduled for September 28, 2018 in Las Cruces. Please see the notice below for more details and how to participate in the proceeding.

For questions or to submit comments related to the proposed dust mitigation plan and associated fugitive dust rule, please contact Michael Baca at 575.915.1091 or To stay up to date on the progress of this regulatory action, please visit our website, and sign up for the Regulatory and SIP or Border Air Quality listserv bulletins.


Proposed Repeal of the NM Ambient Air Quality Standard for Total Suspended Particulate

The Improving Environmental Permitting Initial Report recommended that the Air Quality Bureau consider the NM Ambient Air Quality Standards (NMAAQS) for Total Suspended Particulate (TSP) for repeal.

The NM standards were adopted in 1969, prior to the adoption of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in 1971. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised its standards in 1987, replacing TSP with particulate matter less than 10 microns (PM10). The NM TSP standards were retained, to protect the public from soiling and nuisance effects of larger particulates (dust).

The Air Quality Bureau has studied the issue, and has preliminarily determined that a repeal of the TSP standards will not cause a deterioration in air quality; the current federal air quality standards for PM10 and PM2.5 are protective of public health. A repeal would also ease the permitting burden for regulated sources and the Air Quality Bureau. A hearing has been scheduled for September 28, 2018 in Las Cruces.

  • Public Notice of Rulemaking Hearing: Repeal of TSP Standard (English and Spanish)

In part to address soiling and nuisance effects of windblown dust, the Air Quality Bureau is in the process of developing a dust mitigation plan and associated fugitive dust rule that will apply in areas that are in danger of violating the PM10 NAAQS. (See above.)

For questions related to the proposed repeal of the TSP NMAAQS, please contact Kerwin Singleton at 505.476.4350 or To stay up to date on the progress of this regulatory action, please visit our website, and sign up for the Regulatory and SIP listserv bulletins.

Proposed Repeal of 20.2.20 NMAC – Lime Manufacturing Plants – Particulate Matter.

 The New Mexico Environment Department (“Department”) intends to propose to the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) that 20.2.20 NMAC, Lime Manufacturing Plants – Particulate Matter (“Part 20”) be repealed.

The Department undertook a review of their permitting processes and associated rules in 2012, resulting in the Improving Environmental Permitting report (NMED, 11/14/12).  The report identified Part 20 as one of several rules that should be evaluated for potential revision or repeal.  Part 20 establishes state particulate matter emissions limits for lime manufacturing plants and lime hydrators.  There are two federal rules that also regulate lime manufacturing, but not lime hydrators:  40 CFR 60, Subpart HH, Standards of Performance for Lime Manufacturing Plants (Subpart HH) and 40 CFR 63, Subpart AAAAA, National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Lime Manufacturing Plants (Subpart AAAAA).  Currently, there are no facilities in New Mexico under the jurisdiction of the Department subject to either the New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) Subpart HH or National Emissions Standard for Hazardous Pollutants (NESHAP) Subpart AAAAA.

Since Part 20 was first adopted on November 15, 1978, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revised the NSPS following a remand by the U.S. Court of Appeals.  NSPS Subpart HH was changed substantively but the state rule was not updated to align with the new federal standard.  A repeal of Part 20 would bring New Mexico current with NSPS requirements.

Currently, there is one facility in New Mexico subject to the Part 20 requirements for lime hydrators.  A repeal of Part 20 would eliminate the particulate matter emissions limit for lime hydrators, but the existing lime hydrator would still be required to comply with its permitted emissions limits.  The proposed repeal would also eliminate the respective particulate matter emissions limits for new lime manufacturing plants and existing lime manufacturing plants, and the opacity limit for new lime manufacturing plants.  However, any newly constructed lime manufacturing plant would still be required to comply with the applicable portions of NSPS Subpart HH (and NESHAP Subpart AAAAA) and demonstrate compliance with all applicable New Mexico or national ambient air quality standards (NMAAQS and NAAQS, respectively).

Because Part 20 is part of the New Mexico State Implementation Plan or “SIP”, the Department is required to make a demonstration to the EPA of noninterference under Section 110(l) of the Clean Air Act that the proposed repeal will not negatively affect the attainment or maintenance of any NAAQS.  This is referred to as a “110(l) demonstration”, and must be submitted to EPA for approval.

The proposed rule repeal, supporting modeling report and EPA comments may be downloaded from the links below.

Stakeholder Review Draft – Part 20 Repeal

Modeling Report – Lhoist NA Lime Hydrator Plant – Belen (Revised 9/29/17)

EPA comments, received August 8, 2017, and AQB response  

Revised 110(l) Demonstration

AQB Response to EPA Comments Received 3/12/18

AQB Response to EPA Comments Received 5/10/18

Compliance Discussion Attachment B

NewPetition for Regulatory Change 7-5-18


Notice of Availability of Public Information Meeting


Notice of Regulatory Hearing (English and Spanish), Environmental Improvement Board, November 30, 2018, 9:30 am


Public Involvement Plan signed July 31, 2018

Please contact Neal Butt at (505) 476-4317 or if you have questions or comments concerning the proposed repeal.

NewNegative Declarations

Negative Declarations may be submitted to the U.S. EPA when Emissions Guidelines are finalized for existing sources. Emissions Guidelines require States, Tribes and Local Agencies to develop plans to implement the guidelines (rules) for sources within their jurisdictions which meet the applicability criteria. When a State, Tribe or Local Agency does not have an applicable source covered by the rule, a letter to U.S. EPA stating such may be submitted in lieu of an implementing plan. This is termed a “Negative Declaration.”

On June 27, 2018, NMED submitted a Negative Declaration for Commercial/Industrial Solid Waste Incinerators (CISWI) to EPA.

For more information, contact Cindy Hollenberg, (505) 476-4356,

Recently Approved Changes to Air Quality Regulations and Plans

Following are summaries of recently approved changes to New Mexico air quality regulations and the New Mexico State Implementation Plan. These changes were approved by either the Environmental Improvement Board or U.S. EPA within the last two years. For updates, please check back periodically at this webpage.

SO2 Data Requirements Rule – Implementation of the 2010 1-hour Sulfur Dioxide Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard

The U.S. EPA requires each State to supply information regarding sources which emit greater than 2,000 tons per year of sulfur dioxide in order to determine compliance with the 2010 1-hour primary standard. The schedule of required information includes:

Although most areas of the country (including all of New Mexico) have already been designated for attainment/nonattainment of the standard, some areas of the country remain unclassifiable. By summer of 2020, EPA expects to have enough data to designate the remaining areas. States with areas not attaining the standard will then have two years to complete attainment plans. For more information on the 2010 SO2 NAAQS, visit EPA’s web page which includes various documents related to the third round of area designations.

NewPursuant to the ongoing requirements in the federal rule, NMED must submit annual reports of the San Juan Generating Station’s SO2 emissions by July 1st of each year following designation. The purpose of this report is to analyze whether or not new modeling is required for areas that employed modeling of actual emissions for characterization. The report for San Juan Generating Station is now available for review and comment before submission to EPA. The report shows that SO2 emissions have decreased from the modeling years of 2013-2015 and emissions are likely to decrease again since two units were shut down in December 2017; therefore, NMED recommends that new modeling should not be required at this time.

For questions related to the Data Requirements Rule or the SO2 NAAQS, please contact Cindy Hollenberg at or at (505) 476-4356.

Municipal Solid Waste Landfills – New Source Performance Standards and Emission Guidelines

In August 2016, EPA issued revised standards for both new and existing municipal solid waste landfills (MSWLs). The New Source Performance Standards at 40 CFR 60 Subpart XXX apply to landfills constructed or modified after July 17, 2014. The Emission Guidelines at 40 CFR 60 Subpart Cf apply to landfills constructed or modified on or prior to this date. Both of these federal rules aim to reduce landfill gas emissions. The New Source Performance Standard were incorporated by reference into the New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC) on April 28, 2017.

Subpart Cf, promulgated under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, requires that states, tribes and local authorities with jurisdiction over existing landfills develop a plan to implement the emission guidelines. One aspect of that state plan, for New Mexico, is the amendment of 20.2.64 NMAC – Municipal Solid Waste Landfills (Part 64).

On April 28, 2017, the Environmental Improvement Board unanimously approved the adoption of the State Plan implementing the emission guidelines and the repeal and replacement of Part 64.

NMED submitted the approved State Plan implementing the Emission Guidelines in early May, 2017. On May 31, 2017, the EPA issued a 90-day stay on both the NSPS and EGs. This 90-day stay expired on August 29, 2017.  Therefore, the 2016 federal rules are currently in effect. However, EPA is reconsidering several issues in these final rules. EPA does “not plan to prioritize” the review of submitted state plans and issuance of a Federal Plan for states that failed to submit a state plan. For more information on these rules and rule history, visit EPA’s web page for landfills.

If you have further questions regarding the State Plan development, contact Cindy Hollenberg, or (505) 476-4356. For questions regarding implementation of the emission guidelines, contact EPA Region 6 (

Incorporation by Reference of federal NSPS, NESHAP and MACT rules

 At a public hearing held April 28, 2017, the Environmental Improvement Board approved amendments to the dates of incorporation by reference contained in 20.2.77 NMAC (New Source Performance Standards), 20.2.78 NMAC (Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants), and 20.2.82 NMAC (Maximum Achievable Control Technology Standards for Source Categories of Hazardous Air Pollutants). The previous update for Parts 77, 78 and 82 was September 15, 2015. Since the most recent date of incorporation, there have been 28 changes to various federal New Source Performance Standards, Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, and Maximum Achievable Control Technology Standards. Adoption of the proposed incorporation by reference will change the “through date” in Parts 77, 78 and 82 to reference the changes made at the federal level through January 15, 2017.

Please contact Mark Jones at or at (505) 566-9746 for additional information.

Revisions to the New Mexico State Implementation Plan Regarding Startup, Shutdown and Malfunctions

A public hearing, held September 9, 2016, approved revisions to the State Implementation Plan (SIP) for New Mexico. The SIP revisions are in response to a final action issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On June 12, 2015, the EPA published its final action to ensure states have plans in place that are fully consistent with the Clean Air Act and recent court decisions concerning startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) operations.

In response to this final action, the New Mexico Environment Department Air Quality Bureau proposed revisions to the State Implementation Plan (SIP). These SIP revisions entail removing applicable sections of 20.2.7 NMAC – Excess Emissions during Malfunction, Startup, Shutdown, or Scheduled Maintenance from the SIP. The proposal was unanimously approved by the Environmental Improvement Board on September 9, 2016.

For more information, please contact Robert Spillers at (505) 476-4324 or by email to

Repeal of 20.2.37 NMAC – Petroleum Processing Facilities.

At a public hearing held August 12, 2016, the Environmental Improvement Board unanimously approved the repeal of 20.2.37 NMAC. Part 37 was adopted in 1974
and specifies emissions limits and other operating requirements for existing (constructed prior to July 1, 1974) and new petroleum refineries and natural gas processing facilities. This rule regulates emissions from several processes associated with petroleum processing facilities and has not been substantially revised since 1984. The rule was identified in the November 2012 Improving Environmental Permitting Report for potential revision or repeal. The Air Quality Bureau has conducted a thorough analysis of the rule as well as other similar federal rules that apply to this industry, and has concluded that the rule can be repealed without a relaxation of emissions controls or an adverse effect on air quality

Please contact Mark Jones at or at (505) 566-9746 for additional information.


Recent EPA Approvals of Regulatory Changes or Plans

Following are links to recently approved regulatory changes or plans. To view all EPA approvals related to the State Implementation Plan, please visit the electronic code of federal regulations.

NM Regulations:


  • Infrastructure and Transport for 2008 lead (Pb) NAAQS (effective July 13, 2015) 80 FR 33191
  • Infrastructure for the 2008 ozone NAAQS (effective July 24, 2015) 80 FR 36246
  • Infrastructure for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS (effective July 24, 2015) 80 FR 36246
  • Infrastructure for 2010 SO2 NAAQS (effective November 13, 2015) 80 FR 61751
  • Infrastructure and transport for 2012 Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) NAAQS 83 FR 12493 (NM action begins on 12495)

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