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Environmental Justice

What is Environmental Justice?

Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. 

Our Role

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico enforces federal laws that protect our communities against harm caused by environmental crime, pollution, and climate change.  Our Office works in conjunction with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial government partners to address human health and environmental harms that disproportionately affect overburdened and underserved low-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal and Indigenous communities.  Our Environmental Justice Coordinator receives reports of environmental violations within our district and engages in outreach to promote greater public participation in environmental justice efforts. 

What Can You Do?

If you become aware of an event that may be a threat to human health or the environment, report it!

Our Office welcomes reports of known or suspected environmental violations within the district.  Email our Environmental Justice Coordinator.

Examples of criminal environmental violations include:

• A chop-shop where stolen vehicles are dismantled and used oil is dumped;

• An oil and gas operator who fabricates records to show they looked for leaking components but never did so or conceals oil spills;

• Industries that fail to follow safety protocols as outlined in its risk management plan, which can put its workers and the public at risk;

• A wastewater treatment plant operator or industrial user who changes sample results to show compliance of non-compliant discharges to surface water or groundwater;

• A company that illegally discharges pollutants into a river or channel that leads to a river due to intentional or negligent maintenance of equipment and/or improperly trained staff with or without a permit;

• Demolition and construction activities involving removal of asbestos without following proper worker safety practice standards and/or illegal disposal of asbestos; both causing potential exposure and creating health risks for workers and the public;

• Illegal storage, transportation or disposal of hazardous or radiological wastes;

• Importation of illegal pesticides, refrigerants, or wildlife;

• Use of pesticides and refrigerants that are not EPA-approved;

• Oil spills, releases or discharges; some of which compromise the fishing rights or practices of indigenous or disadvantaged communities;

• False reporting of air emissions resulting from inadequate, under designed or nonexistent pollution control devices;

• Companies and individuals that tamper with emissions devices or write and install tunes in road vehicles;

• False statements to the EPA, NMED or other regulatory agencies, that undermine the integrity of environmental protection programs or permits.

Additional Agencies:

National Response Center: Report oil, chemical, radiological, biological, and disease-causing discharges into the environment in the United States or its territories.

Environmental Protection Agency: Report violations regarding air quality, climate change, health, water, chemical and toxin spills, or land, waste, and cleanup.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Report federal wildlife crimes that occur on national wildlife refuges, conservation easements and national fish hatcheries, including the taking of federally protected wildlife.

U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Report observed or suspected adverse events for human medical products, including medications, biologics, medical devices, special nutritional products, cosmetics, and food.

New Mexico Environment Department: Report known or suspected criminal violations of federal Tribal, and state environmental laws.

Other Resources and Information:

New Mexico launches Environmental Crimes Task Force

U.S. Department of Justice Environmental and Natural Resources Division

U.S. Department of Justice Office of Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice Enforcement Strategy

Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad

Updated December 9, 2022