Region 6's Oversight of New Mexico Air
Enforcement Data
EPA Office of Inspector General
Region 6's Oversight of New Mexico Air Enforcement
The purpose of this audit was to determine whether the New Mexico Environment Department (New Mexico):
	Identified significant violators in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) timely
and appropriate enforcement guidance,
	Reported significant violators to EPA, and
	Performed inspections that were sufficient to determine if a facility violated the Clean Air Act (CAA).
The CAA as amended in 1990 provides EPA authority to set and enforce national standards to protect human
health and the environment from emissions that pollute the air. CAA lists 188 toxic air pollutants that must be
reduced. CAA separately regulates six of the more serious air pollutants. EPA sets national standards for each
of these criteria pollutants, and the states must take action to ensure facilities meet EPA standards.
At the federal level, the air enforcement program is carried out largely by the regions. The regions delegate
portions of their air enforcement responsibility to the states and often rely on the states to conduct inspections
and take enforcement actions. Region 6 delegated such responsibilities to New Mexico.
New Mexico and the Region 6 Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division (enforcement) should have
better identified and reported significant violators. The annual inspection plan developed by New Mexico, as
required under its Air Pollution Control Program Section 105 cooperative agreement, did not establish goals for
inspections of all major stationary air pollution facilities. Further, New Mexico did not place enough emphasis
on completing committed inspections. A lack of resources caused delays in New Mexico's inspecting and
reporting of significant violators. Region 6 enforcement did not adequately use provided information to identify
significant violators. In the absence of inspection coverage of all major air pollution sources, New Mexico could
not assure adequate identification and reporting of all significant violators. Further, Region 6 could not

adequately monitor the progress of New Mexico in returning facilities to compliance. Information regarding
significant violators reported to EPA, Congress, and the public was not complete and accurate.
New Mexico and Region 6 enforcement need to take actions to ensure significant violators are returned to
compliance timely. New Mexico did not establish timeframes for taking enforcement actions, and lacked legal
counsel to assist with significant violator actions. When enforcement actions are not timely, facilities continue
to emit pollution which could lead to a higher potential for harm to the environment and local residents.
We recommend that the Acting Regional Administrator require the Region 6 Compliance Assurance and
Enforcement Division to:
1.	Work with New Mexico to develop a comprehensive inspection plan to address all major stationary air
sources within New Mexico,
2.	Continue to work with New Mexico to develop a process to ensure the timely and accurate identification of
significant violators in EPA's significant violator tracking system,
3.	Verify that significant violator information in AFS is complete and accurate, and
4.	Perform more effective oversight of significant violators to ensure that New Mexico takes timely and
appropriate actions that result in facilities returning to compliance. In instances where the State does not act
timely, the Region should consider taking its own enforcement actions.
Region 6 generally agreed with our findings and recommendations and proposed taking the following corrective
actions regarding significant violators:
	Continue to enter, flag, and track planned inspections for the fiscal year in AFS and review monthly and
quarterly reports from AFS.
	Continue contact with each new AFS coordinator, as identified by the state, and provide necessary
training and data support.
	Continue to provide, as required in the MOU between the Multimedia Division and the Enforcement and
Assurance Division, data necessary to ensure timely compliance and reporting of significant violators.
New Mexico also agreed in principle with the report findings and recommendations and provided some
proposed corrective actions. The State's response stated that New Mexico takes it enforcement responsibilities
very seriously, strives to ensure that high quality inspections are performed, and provides accurate and reliable
reporting of its enforcement activities. The State provided additional documentation concerning required
inspections and facilities we identified as significant violators.
We agree with the corrective actions proposed by Region 6 and New Mexico. In response to New Mexico's
concerns, we made revisions, where appropriate, to the final report based on additional support provided by
New Mexico.