Protect New Mexico

Your source for environmental information at the NM legislature


An Act Relating To The Environment; Enacting The Consolidated Environmental Review Act; Providing For Rules To Be Adopted By The Environmental Improvement Board; Providing For Fees; Providing For Citizen Cause Of Action; Making Appropriations.

LoadingAdd to My Bills


Legislative URL:
HB 458 on
Emergency Clause:

Related Legislators

Bill Sponsor:

Related Documents

Fiscal Impact Report

This piece of legislation enacts the Consolidated Environmental Review Act. The bill sets up a review process for proposed projects affecting the environment that are funded by the State or for which a State permit, license or other such permission is needed, much like the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) does at the federal level. Public agencies reviewing the proposed projects will prepare documents called “environmental assessments” or “environmental impact statements” for the projects that will analyze a variety of aspects of the projects.


Defined terms include:

  • Environmental Assessment (EA):  a document prepared by a public agency the purpose of which is to issue a “finding of no significant impact” or determine that further assessment or evaluation is needed via an environmental impact statement.
  • Environmental Impact Statement (EIS):  a document describing the effect that a project is likely to have on the environment, analyzing how to minimize its significant effects and discussing alternatives.
  • Finding of no significant impact:  describes the reasons that a proposed project will not have a significant effect on the environment and therefore does not require the preparation of an EIS.
  • Project:  one that may cause a change in the physical environment and that is funded by a public agency or requires a lease, permit or other such permissive document from an agency.


The bill describes the process for choosing a “lead agency” if more than one is involved and the lead agency’s duties and responsibilities. The lead agency must perform an EA of any proposed project and must determine whether the project will have significant effect on the environment or must determine a finding of no significant impact. If the former, the agency must prepare an EIS, which includes a detailed statement setting forth a series of specified significant effects or impacts on the environment, human health or other enumerated areas; mitigation measures; and, alternatives. The bill exempts several types of activity from the Act.

Public agencies must choose the best available alternative to a proposed project that minimizes or avoids adverse environmental effects and must meet deadlines in the EA and EIS process. They must notify the Legislature and general public of certain steps in the process.

Finally, this measure gives “any person having an interest that is or may be adversely affected by a project or proposed project” the right to initiate a civil action to compel compliance with the Act and sets forth details for such an action. It also allows any person who is adversely affected by a project or proposed project to appeal the issue to the Court of Appeals. All such appeals shall be “upon the record” (that is, new testimony and other evidence is not submitted). The Court of Appeals can set aside the agency’s action only if it is found to be arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion; not supported by substantial evidence in the public record; or otherwise not in accordance with law.

A possible benefit of this bill might be that it would bring more scrutiny to projects that might affect the environment.

Outcome: HB 458 died in the House Energy & Natural Resources Committee.

Date of Summary:  2/9/13; Updated 5/30/13