NMED Transforms Audience Engagement with Easy-to-Use Tools and Website Design – Los Alamos Reporter


It has never been easier for New Mexicans to participate in the public consultation process for issues that impact their community. The New Mexico Department of Environment (NMED) launched its Public Comment Portal as an easy-to-use method to accept public comments and documents. This is the latest functional improvement in NMED’s ongoing efforts to make the agency and its actions more accessible to all New Mexicans.

“We continue to invest in making the Department of the Environment more accessible to all New Mexicans – including the ability for the public to easily comment on proposed rules and permits that may impact their environment,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “Our public comment portal allows community voices to inform our activities, further demonstrating our innovation in Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s commitment to open and collaborative state government.”

NMED encourages the public to express their opinion on draft permits, regulatory proposals and agenda items that are before the many boards, commissions and hearing officers. The public consultation portal can be accessed under the Public Participation menu on the NMED homepage. Once in the portal, users will see all questions currently open for public comment. After selecting a specific topic, users can see links to all relevant documents, make a comment and upload their own supporting documents.

“I’m excited about New Mexico’s new public comment portal,” said EPA Region 6 Administrator, Dr. Earthea Nance. The portal is in English and Spanish and provides public access to state licensing and regulatory processes. NMED plays a leadership role in building a program that includes its communities. »

“At the EPA, we are committed to ensuring the protection of the environment and public health for all. Tools like the one announced today in New Mexico deliver on that commitment,” said EPA Senior Environmental Justice Advisor Robin Morris Collin. “Our work must be shaped by the lived experiences of affected communities, and I applaud the New Mexico Department of Environment for developing this tool that will improve access to the decision-making process and ensure that more communities have a seat at the table.”

To help the public use the new public comment portal, NMED has developed video tutorials on how to use the public comment portal. The videos are available in English and Spanish.

“Prior to the launch of the public comment portal, all public comments were managed manually,” said Office of Public Facilitation Hearings Officer Gregory Chakalian. “The portal automates the management of public comments, which will help expedite these questions while saving staff time.”

Other enhancements NMED has rolled out to continue fostering audience engagement include:

  • In May 2021, NMED launched an interactive public calendar on its website, making it easier and more efficient for the public, the regulated community, stakeholders and members of the media to find information about events taking place. throughout the Department. The schedule includes information on everything from public comment periods and hearings to specialized trainings for the regulated community. The “search” function allows users to search for specific types of events or topics. Once a user identifies an event on the service’s calendar that they want to follow or participate in, there are several options to share it on social media, add it to their desktop calendar (for example, MS Outlook, Google or iCal calendar), forward it to friends or set email/text reminders. The Events Calendar is one of the three most visited web pages on the agency’s website.
  • In August 2021, NMED launched a new website which includes a one-stop-shop format for businesses and individuals to find permission forms and guidance; review public notices and case pages on the docket; make payments online; read strategic plans and performance measures.

“The rollout of the public comment portal, combined with the launch of our new calendar and website in 2021, demonstrates our commitment to transparency,” said NMED Director of Information, Peter Street. “By using information technology, we are modernizing how the public can easily interact with state government.”

In July of this year, NMED will be rolling out a website-wide translation service so that people with limited English proficiency have full and equal access to all information and resources on its website. While NMED offers many website resources in English and Spanish, planned enhancements will also offer the entire NMED website in English, Spanish and other languages.

Edwin S. Wolfe