Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q.  WHERE IS CORRALES VILLAGE?

A.  Corrales is a small village located just outside of the Albuquerque city limits. It is a rural community with horses, cows, chickens and pigs. Coyotes run freely. Corrales runs parallel to the Rio Grande River and is only within 1 mile of its banks.

Q.  WHAT IS THE POPULATION OF CORRALES?

A.  The population of Corrales is about 7300.

Q.  HOW MANY OTHER COMMUNITIES ARE CLOSE TO CORRALES THAT MAY ALSO BE AFFECTED BY INTEL’S AIR EMISSIONS?

A.  Corrales is close to Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.

Q.  HOW MANY PEOPLE IN CORRALES HAVE COMPLAINED OF AIR POLLUTION RELATED ILLNESSES?

A.  Nearly 600 people responded to a health survey indicating they had been sickened by air-pollution.

Q.  HAVE MEMBERS FROM OTHER COMMUNITIES COMPLAINED ABOUT ODOR AND ILLNESSES?

A.  Yes, dozens of residents in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque have complained about odor and correlating illnesses.

Q.  HAS A HEALTH SURVEY BEEN CONDUCTED?

A.  Yes. The survey results are currently being evaluated by an epidemiologist and will be available within three months.

Q.  WHAT IS CRCAW (CORRALES RESIDENTS FOR CLEAN AIR AND WATER)?

A.  CRCAW is a group of citizens who believe the odors and illnesses are caused by Intel's emissions. Although they attempted to seek out help and assistance from local government agencies, their attempts were unsuccessful. CRCAW was formed in an effort to find relief for the community and demand NMED investigate citizen complaints and find resolution to the communities concerns and poor health effects.

Q.  WHEN WAS CRCAW FORMED?

A.  Summer, 1993.

Q.  WHAT HAVE THE CITIZENS DONE TO MAKE NMED AWARE OF THE PROBLEMS WITH ILLNESSES AND ODORS THEY HAVE EXPERIENCED?

A.  Citizens have documented their illnesses for years, notified NMED, Intel and the Department of Health, all to no avail. Since the citizens were not receiving any assistance from state organizations, they raised $93,000 from private funds to purchase the only community-owned FTIR monitor in the nation.

Q.  HAVE THERE BEEN ANY ATTEMPTS BY THE STATE ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT TO INVESTIGATE THE CITIZENS COMPLAINTS? IF SO, WHAT ARE THEY?

A.  Initially NMED (New Mexico Environment Department) responded to the complaints by attending one meeting of CRCAW and listening to citizen testimonials of illnesses and odors. NMED ultimately responded by stating a ‘scientific health survey’ would be required and that they were unable to conduct such a health survey.  Finally, after a decade and dozens of citizens complaints of odors and illnesses related to Intel emissions, CRCAW was able to raise the necessary funds to purchase an FTIR monitor to find out what was actually in the air. At that time and only after the purchase of the FTIR monitor did NMED begin to show interest in CRCAW and their complaints.

Q.  ARE THERE ANY ORGANIZATIONS OR GROUPS THAT ASSOCIATE WITH CRCAW?

A.  The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) has been instrumental in working with CRCAW in attempting to resolve the complaints of illnesses, odor and noise from Intel.

Q.  WHAT IS CRCAW’S ULTIMATE GOAL? 

A:  
     1.  To require Intel to take reasonable measures to ensure the toxic chemical emissions by Intel do not threatened the health and or lives of residents and employees. 
     2.  To require NMED to live up to their mission statement for protecting the health and lives of the citizens  of Corrales, surrounding communities and ultimately the entire population of the State of New Mexico.  
     3.  And to encourage Intel to seek out alternative methods for wafer processing which uses little to no toxic chemicals and reduces water usage.

Q. HOW DO TOXIC CHEMICALS RELEASED FROM INTEL'S SEMICONDUCTOR FABRICATION PLANT END UP IN CORRALES VILLAGE?

A.  The prevailing wind from Intel blows toward Corrales across Intel's large buildings.  When these winds reach the edge of the building, the sharp drop-off creates a partial vacuum in the cavity just past the building.  This lower pressure region, caused by building downwash (called Bernoulli effect in physics) draws the air and any toxic gases it contains down toward ground level.

This actually happens twice because the Intel plant is on a bluff above the Corrales valley.  And when the prevailing wind passes over the edge of the escarpment, the lower elevation of Corrales draws the air down toward ground level again.

Once the polluted air is down in the lower elevation of Corrales, it is shielded from the wind and is relatively stagnant.  The fact that Intel's most toxic emissions are generally much higher density than air causes them to remain near ground level longer before they eventually dissipate.

Phosgene, which caused 80% of the poison gas fatalities in World War I is not only extremely toxic, its high density (3.5 times that of air) causes it to remain near ground level where it will cause the maximum number of fatalities.  Yet, Intel's current permit allows them to release 5.9 tons of this chemical warfare agent each year.

Q.  WHAT HAS CRCAW (Corrales Residents for Clean Air and Water) HAS DONE IN LAST 10 YEARS?

A:  The following is a list of some of CRCAW's accomplishments during last decade:

  1. Worked to inform residents of Corrales and Rio Rancho about Intel's Air pollution which includes hundreds of tons of federal-listed Hazardous Air Pollutants and state-listed Toxic Air Pollutants.
  2. Negotiated a "Good Neighbor" agreement with Intel requiring installation and operation of incinerators to reduce pollutants (the major provisions of which were incorporated into the N.M. Environment Department's (NMED) regulatory process but later nullified by Intel). 
  3. Initiated a county emergency evacuation plan for Intel hazardous-material releases. 
  4. Worked for improvements to the NMED air-quality programs. 
  5. Testified at numerous NMED hearings on Intel's air pollution permit modifications. 
  6. Protested massive allocations of scarce water resources to Intel that jeopardized Corrales homeowners' wells. 
  7. Conducted a health survey to collect data about the kinds and degree of medical problems associated with exposure to Intel emissions. 
  8. Arranged for bio-medical analysis for victims of illnesses thought to be linked to Intel fumes. 
  9. Advised Village government on water and air concerns. 
  10. Collected testimonial letters from dozens of Corrales residents who explained their medical problems and why they believed those problems are linked to Intel's emissions. 
  11. Initiated a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-funded Corrales Air Toxics Study. 
  12. Purchased a community-owned Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer to continuously monitor and record air pollution from the Intel facilities.