Upholding Environmental Justice in the Colonias: A New Mexico Approach

David S. Henkel, Jr.


As low-income communities (largely) of color, colonias are not only characterized by inadequate physical infrastructure, but also by a disproportionate concentration of potentially hazardous land uses. This article examines how the state regulations governing solid waste facilities permitted by the NM Environment Department operate in colonias. After a brief reference to the differences in environmental policy between the US and Mexico, in the mid-border region, and the jurisdictional differentiation in planning between New Mexico and Chihuahua, the article examines how adoption of environmental regulations governing permitted facilities affects colonias in New Mexico. The case of the Camino Real solid waste facility in Sunland Park is used to illustrate the planning processes at work. Special attention is paid to the kinds of citizen participation called for in the review process.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229