Dispatch

Questioned by Heinrich on PFAS, deputy defense secretary says Pentagon should meet with families

February 9, 2021

Pentagon

New Mexico Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich had questions last week during the Senate confirmation hearing of Kathleen Hicks as Deputy Secretary of Defense.  

Among other things, Heinrich emphasized the need for the U.S. Department of Defense to take full responsibility for PFAS contamination at military bases nationwide, including at Cannon and Holloman Air Force bases in New Mexico 

New Mexico officials say PFAS court decision infringes on state’s rights

February 2, 2021

New Mexico State Capitol Small

This week, the state of New Mexico is attempting a new legal tactic tforce the military to clean up the PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, that have polluted waters below two New Mexico communities 

In a writ of mandamus filed on Monday, New Mexico state officials attempt to bring the legal battle over PFAS home—and they’re challenging an earlier court decision that the state says took away itenvironmental policing powers. 

PFAS in NM’s waters, plus NJ sues the military, too

January 19, 2021

Our Land Gila

In cooperation with the New Mexico Environment Department, the U.S. Geological Survey tested groundwater and surface water in 16 counties to find where PFAS are present and which specific types of those toxic substances have found their way into the state’s waters. The tests did not reveal alarmingly high levels of the pollutants at any one site. But the presence of PFAS was widespread geographically in New Mexico’s watersGiven their toxicity—as well as the fact that they persist within waters, soils, and bodies “forever”—the results are notable. You can read that full story here. 

Haaland on PFAS contamination in NM

January 12, 2021

American Flag Small

Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, was nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to head the U.S. Department of the Interior. Until that nomination is confirmed, Haaland is the sitting congresswoman for New Mexico's 1st Congressional District. In both her current role and potential future role, she says protecting the environment will be a top priority. Rep. Haaland took a few minutes recently to talk with correspondent Laura Paskus about the evolving story of groundwater contamination and PFAS near at least seven military installations across the state.

States, Water Districts Ramp Up PFAS Action

January 5, 2021

Water Droplets Small

In an interview taped late last year, now-former Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, spoke about the military’s contamination of groundwater in New Mexico with PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. 

During the interview, we talked about the lack of transparency on the part of the military, whether New Mexicans should be concerned about the presence of PFAS from military installations in addition to Holloman and Cannon Air Force bases, and what we’ll wish we’d done when looking back on this moment decades from now.

What military history says about the future of PFAS cleanup

December 22, 2020

everest-small

More than two years ago, New Mexico regulators learned that the Air Force had contaminated water beneath Holloman and Cannon Air Force bases with PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The two parties are locked in litigation as the state tries to compel the U.S. Department of Defense to clean up the toxic pollution, as well as map its spread

Firefighting foams to pigskin tanning: PFAS persists in NM, nationwide

December 15, 2020

River

In August 2018, the U.S. Air Force revealed there were PFAS in the soils and waters below Cannon Air Force Base. More than two years later, dairy farmers like Art Schaap are still waiting for relief, the drinking water utility in Clovis has shut down drinking water wells, and the military and the state of New Mexico are locked in legal battle over cleanup. 

In the water we drink and the products we use to protect ourselves, PFAS are everywhere

December 8, 2020

water drop

In Colorado, state agencies are looking into how much PFAS make it into waterways and then onto crops and consumer’s plates. According to a story from CBSN Denver, “The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Agriculture are examining the potential contamination of irrigation waterways in areas that have previously been tested for contamination of drinking water.” 

Public begs for PFAS cleanup, feds announce ‘interim strategy’ for monitoring

December 1, 2020

dirty-water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an interim strategy last week for some states and territories to address contamination from PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. According to the recommendations, states like New Mexico can consider requiring monitoring for PFAS when granting wastewater discharge permits to military facilities or companies where PFAS are expected to be present. 

Newly-released documents show Navy knew about spread of PFAS

November 24, 2020

Navy

In New York, newly released data show that the U.S. Navy did not tell the public that it knew PFAS were present at the southern boundary of the former Grumman manufacturing site in Calverton.

As states try to regulate PFAS, disputes increase between military, companies

November 17, 2020

Washing Hands

In New Hampshire, the Air Force has refused requests from state officials and members of Congress to follow the state’s regulations limiting the amount of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, in drinking water.  

Because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has failed to set drinking water regulations for PFAS, many states have started creating and trying to enforce those limits. 

New Mexico to delineate PFAS contamination from two Air Force bases

November 3, 2020

Water Faucet

Last week, the state of New Mexico released a request for proposals on a contract to investigate PFAS contamination from Cannon and Holloman Air Force bases.  

We mentioned these plans a while back, after the New Mexico State Legislature allocated $1 million to study where PFAS pollution has spread and another $100,000 to create and implement a well testing program in Curry and Roosevelt counties. 

Nationwide, PFAS seeping from military bases, factories, and airports

October 27, 2020

underwater

Here in New Mexico, activities at Holloman and Cannon Air Force bases have contaminated groundwater with PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The Pentagon has also identified five other military sites that may have polluted local waters with PFAS.   

But PFAS contamination isn’t just a problem in New Mexico. The toxic chemicals have seeped out of factories, Naval bases, and airports around the nation. And the world.  

Study shows 200 million Americans drinking PFAS-tainted water

October 20, 2020

Water Splash

A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Science and Technology Letters estimates that 200 million Americans could have PFAS in their drinking water at levels of one part per trillion or more. 

PFAS found in bottled water, MD oyster waters, and the blood of a Wisconsin activist

October 13, 2020

water ripple

Here in New Mexico, two Air Force bases have contaminated groundwater with PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Five other military sites in the state have been identified as possibly having contaminated local waters, as well.  

PFAS contamination might not garner many headlines in New Mexico, but all across the country, communities are grappling with similar problems.