September 13, 2019 – President Donald Trump’s decision to repurpose $3.6 billion in military funding to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border will have impacts in New Mexico. Specifically, the President’s use of emergency powers will temporarily cost Holloman Air Force Base $85 million designated for a drone pilot training facility. And the White Sands Missile Range will also have to wait for a $40 million influx for a data and network center. Host Gene Grant and The Line opinion panelists weigh the give-and-take over military support vs. border security, plus reaction from New Mexico’s congressional delegation.
Line Panelists: Serge Martinez, UNM School of Law
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group
Giovanna Rossi, Collective Action Strategies
Kristelle Siarza, Siarza Social Digital
February 8, 2019 – Environmental Reporter Laura Paskus broke the story this week of massive contamination at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo. According to a Department of Defense site inspection, the levels of contamination at Holloman are 18,000 times higher than what the federal government says is safe. And the state’s new Secretary of the Environment has already issued a violation against the Air Force over the contamination and subsequent health risks. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and members of the New Mexico congressional delegation also issued the following statement on the situation:
“We firmly expect the Air Force to show much more urgency in responding to the contamination around Holloman and Cannon Air Force Bases than they have to date. Their activities have caused contamination in groundwater surrounding these bases, and it must be fixed immediately. We will continue to work with Secretary Wilson to ensure the Air Force moves quickly to determine the full extent of PFAS contamination and take substantive action to protect the health of impacted communities and our service members. And we will pursue all available avenues to protect New Mexico’s water supplies and ensure affected New Mexicans are made whole as soon as possible. New Mexico is a proud and welcoming host to three Air Forces bases, and we are entitled to accountability and access to safe, healthy water for households and businesses in our communities. We will pursue this and push the Air Force until it is achieved.”
Paskus sat down with NMiF Executive Producer Kevin McDonald to discuss her report, and questions still need to be answered. This is a portion of that discussion, which can be viewed in full here.
Laura Paskus, environmental reporter, New Mexico Political Report