Boiling Frogs-Intel vs. the Village

"Boiling Frogs - Intel vs. the Village" recounts the story of Intel Rio Rancho's impact on the air and water in the Village of Corrales from the mid-1980s to the present day. Updates to this ongoing saga will be posted here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Intel's Bogus Permit

Following is a letter written by one of Intel's neighbors:

To All Concerned:

Intel's "Technical Revision" of its permit was approved January 14, 2010. A signed and dated copy of the final revision by NMED Air Quality Bureau is available at the following website:

We, who live closest to Intel and are subjected daily to the increased quantity and probable synergistic reaction of Intel's many new chemicals, are hard pressed to comprehend the rationale behind the current regulations which allow Intel to get what it wants with every request for a "technical" revision.

The toxic effects of these increased emissions have reached far beyond the pocket of entrapment which is downhill from the escarpment. Residents from a wider circle in all directions from Intel are complaining of the caustic manner in which these chemicals are affecting the tissue in our throats, noses, eyes, skin, and central nervous system, to mention only a few.

Both Intel and New Mexico regulatory agencies vow that everything that is regulated in the state is being regulated according to the state statutes and according to accepted protocol for modeling and calculating emission factors.

The more I listen to Intel’s PR rhetoric the more I wonder to what extent New Mexico regulatory agencies are holding Intel Rio Rancho to the laws of our state?

We are dealing with the largest microchip manufacturing plant in the U.S., if not in the world, yet it seems the Rio Rancho Site is using the boiler-plate statistics formulated at sea level, in a flat terrain, on the assumption that all tools and processes have to be run in the same manner, with the same equipment, in all of their plants for production to be successful.

My house is about a quarter mile from Intel’s emission stacks, the way the crow flies and was built in1973 when everything west of the Main Canal was vacant mesa land in the sand hills. Intel arrived in the 1980s, was issued a Major Source Pollution Permit and began polluting with the beginning of, what was then considered to be small production.

I have been involved with Corrales Residents for Clean Air and Water (CRCAW) in making every effort to get Intel to clean up their emissions because the chemicals in use then were affecting our respiratory systems and skin.

I have also attended all the public meetings Intel held to let the residents know what they were doing during the years we were complaining. I continue to attend all the Community Environmental Working Group meetings sponsored by Intel and designed by them to convince the public that Intel is a good neighbor concerned with environmental issues.

Intel’s Community Environmental Working Group (CEWG) which meets the 3rd Wednesday of the month at the Corrales Senior Center from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. is currently trying to work out a way to test for Silica because residents have believed for years that harmful particulate matter comes from Intel. Intel, of course, has denied the possibility of crystalline silica.

There have been too many human deaths in our area due to pulmonary fibrosis to dismiss Intel’s claims of not emitting crystalline silica. My dog’s post mortem suggests the possibility of that and also substantiates the presence of 3 of Intel’s toxic chemicals in her lung tissue.

Perhaps the approach to verify the validity of Intel’s calculated emission factors, their modeling results, and all the other “evidence” they present to the Air Quality Bureau of NMED needs to focus on whether or not these measurements are set at the Corporate level under entirely different circumstances than are present at the Intel Rio Rancho Site.

Measurements at the corporate level could look like apples while the measurements in New Mexico resemble oranges. How could any regulatory agency make sense out of that mix-up?

I am encouraged that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its final version of the long, comprehensive study of Pulmonary Fibrosis. Please don’t leave any stone unturned to find the culprit that plagues us.


Roberta H. King, Concerned Corrales Resident

Member of Corrales Residents for Clean Air and Water

P.O. Box 503

Corrales, NM 87048