Tag Archives: KAFB

Lawsuit Over Kirtland Air Force Base Cleanup | The Line

Kirtland Air Force Base Cleanup

February 7, 2020 – A decades-old fuel leak at Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force Base took a legal turn this week, with a filing in federal court from some local groups alleging the Air Force has failed to clean up the toxic plume fast enough. Gene Grant leads the Line panel in a discussion of this new development in an ongoing story. 

Line Panelists:
Dan Foley, former state representative
Cathryn McGill, NM Black Leadership Council 
Dave Mulryan, founder, Everybody Votes 
Laura Sanchez-Rivét, attorney 

For Further Reading :
Groups sue Air Force over Kirtland cleanup Albuquerque Journal
Coalition sues over Kirtland Air Force Base jet fuel pollution Santa Fe New Mexican 

Transcript:

>>GRANT: NEW MEXICO IN FOCUS IS ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK.  FOLLOW US ONLINE TO GET UPDATES ON UPCOMING SHOWS AND TELL US WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE TOP NEWS STORIES OF THE WEEK. THEN, TUNE IN BECAUSE WE MAY SHARE YOUR COMMENTS ON THE LINE. WELCOME BACK TO THE LINE.  A COALITION MADE UP OF TWO COMMUNITY GROUPS, THREE LAWMAKERS AND THREE ALBUQUERQUE RESIDENTS IS SUING THE U.S. AIR FORCE AND DEFENSE DEPARTMENT. THEY SAY KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE FAILED TO ADEQUATELY RESPOND TO A DECADE’S OLD FUEL LEAK INTO THE GROUNDWATER BELOW THE MILITARY INSTALLATION. THE LEAK WAS DISCOVERED MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO, ALTHOUGH BY THAT TIME IT HAD BEEN SEEPING INTO THE GROUNDWATER FOR DECADES. THE COMPLAINT SAYS CLEANUP IS TAKING TOO LONG. AIR FORCE COUNTERS THAT IT IS MAKING STEADY PROGRESS AND THE PROGRESS IS SLOW BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT TAKING ANY SHORTCUTS. LAURA, COMMUNITY GROUPS AND MEETINGS AND LIAISONS FROM THE BASE OVER THE YEARS. WHY THE LAWSUIT NOW? I AM CURIOUS ABOUT THAT. YOU’RE AN ATTORNEY. WHY NOW? THERE IS PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITY TO DO THIS.

>>SANCHEZ-RIVET: THEY ARE AT THEIR WITS END. THEY ARE NOT SEEING ENOUGH PROGRESS. FOR RESIDENTS IN THAT AREA IT IS A HUGE CONCERN. IT IS SEEPING INTO THE GROUNDWATER AND HAS BEEN DOING SO FOR, LIKE YOU SAID, DECADES. THEY DISCOVERED IT IN 1999.  SO WE ARE TALKING ABOUT AN ISSUE THAT THE AIR FORCE AND DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE HAVE KNOWN ABOUT FOR A LONG TIME.  AND IT IS NOT LIKE THEY LACK RESOURCES IN TERMS OF OTHER OPERATIONS THEY DO. OBVIOUSLY THERE IS NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUES AND CONCERNS IN TERMS OF BUDGET BUT THIS IS SOMETHING THEY ARE AWARE OF FOR A LONG TIME AND I THINK THE COMMUNITY GROUPS AREN’T SEEING PROGRESS AT ALL.

>>GRANT: DAVE, THE PROSPECT OF P PHOS HAS GROWN IN THE PAST, THAT CHEMICAL THAT IS SO PROBLEMATIC. THE LAST THREE OR FOUR YEARS, A BETTER UNDERSTANDING. MAYBE THAT IS PART OF THE REASON WHY WE ARE SEEING A HASTENING.

>>MULRYAN: THIS CLEARLY, YOU KNOW, IT IS A DANGEROUS SITUATION AND PEOPLE HAVE — I MEAN I ALWAYS THINK YOU CAN GO TO LITIGATION IF YOU’RE AT THE LAST EXIT ON THE FREEWAY. SO, THEY WENT TO LITIGATION AND, YOU KNOW, LITIGATION — WELL, YOU WOULD LIKE IT, BUT, YOU KNOW, IT DOES TEND TO MAYBE SLOW THE PROCESS, BUT, ALSO MIGHT MAKE IT MORE THOROUGH AND I THINK WE DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THE MOTIVES ARE. THEY COULD BE LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION OR THEY COULD JUST BE TRYING TO FORCE THEIR HAND AND SAYING, LOOK, YOU KNOW, IT WAS FEDERAL COURT, THEY WANT THEM TO SAY DO THIS.

>>SANCHEZ-RIVET: FOR THE RECORD, I DON’T LIKE LITIGATION. SOMETIMES IT IS NECESSARY.

>>GRANT: PFAS IS CLOSER TO OTHER MILITARY INSTALLATIONS. THIS ONE IS ETHYLENE DIBROMIDE, KNOWN AS EDB, A CARCINOGEN. THEY ALL STINK. WHATEVER THEY ARE, THEY ARE AWFUL. IT IS NOT THAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING NOTHING. THE STATE HAS BEEN GETTING TOUGHER AND A LITTLE BIT TOUGHER AND TOUGHER AS THE YEARS HAVE GONE ALONG. I AM ALWAYS CURIOUS WHY THE STATE HASN’T TAKEN THE ABSOLUTE LEAD ON THIS.

>>FOLEY: THOSE ARE FEDERAL INSTALLATIONS.  THEY ARE LITERALLY IMMUNE FROM STATE INTERVENTION. YOU REMEMBER BACK WHEN THEY TALKED ABOUT CLOSING CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, ONE OF THE THOUGHTS THAT PRESIDENT BUSH HAD ABOUT TURNING IT INTO A REFINERY, BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK FOR ANY STATE EPA STUFF.

>>GRANT: ISN’T THE STATE SUING CANNON OVER PFAS?

>>FOLEY: THEY ARE, BUT YOU SEE WHERE IT IS GOING. THE REASON THE LAWSUITS HAVE COME ABOUT, IS IF THIS WAS THE AIR FORCE BASE AT MIRAMAR IN ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA THIS WAS A SAN DIEGO, WAS ONE OF THE BASES ON THE EAST COAST AND IT WAS LEACHING INTO THE LA CUEVA SCHOOL DISTRICT AREA, THERE WOULD BE DIFFERENT ACTIONS. I THINK, YOU KNOW, TO THE POINT THAT LAURA BROUGHT UP, AND SHE IS RIGHT, WE ARE TALKING TRILLION OF DOLLARS THESE GUYS SPEND EVERY YEAR. THEY COULD SPEND $500 TO BUY A HAMMER, $700 TO BUY A TIRE THAT WE CAN BUY AT WALMART FOR A BUCK 25. THEY GOT TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT THIS. NOT ONLY IS IT HURTING PEOPLE AND KILLING PEOPLE, IT IS GOING TO HAVE GENERATIONAL EFFECTS. AND THEY DID IT. IT IS THEIR FAULT. IT IS THEIR PROPERTY.  THEY DAMAGED IT. THEY SHOULD FIX IT. AND IT SHOULD BE A PRIORITY AND I THINK THE REASON PEOPLE ARE UPSET IS IF THIS WAS ANYPLACE OTHER THAN LITTLE OLE COUNTRY BUMPKIN NEW MEXICO IT WOULD BE HIGHER ON THE PRIORITY TO GET IT FIXED. AND THAT IS A QUESTION SHOULD BE BROUGHT UP TO OUR DELEGATION. WHY ARE YOU GUYS NOT GETTING THIS STUFF TO THE FOREFRONT. THIS IS SOMETHING, SINCE ’99 — THIS ISN’T. WE COULD BLAME TRUMP AND PEOPLE WILL, BUT WE HAVE HAD THREE PRESIDENTS SINCE THEY FOUND OUT ABOUT THIS AND NONE OF THEM MADE IT A PRIORITY TO GET IT DONE AND THEY SHOULD.

>>GRANT: GOOD POINT.  AIR FORCE, THEY SAY THEY HAVE TREATED MORE THAN 800 MILLION GALLONS OF CONTAMINATED WATER WITH FOUR EXTRACTION WELLS, BIG CONTROVERSY A FEW YEARS AGO. 162 MONITORING WELLS NOW EVALUATING THIS EDB PLUME. WHEN YOU HEAR THINGS LIKE PLUME, I MEAN, THINGS ARE GROWING.

>>MCGILL: RIGHT, WHEN THIS TOPIC CAME UP, WE TALKED AND I WAS THINKING WHY DO THEY HAVE ME ON TALKING ABOUT THIS BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT IT, BUT AS A CITIZEN I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IT. I LIVE IN THAT NEIGHBORHOOD AND IT IS IMPORTANT FOR US TO BOTH THANK THESE ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE COME FORWARD TO SAY, IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG, SINCE 1999. I LEARNED SOME PHRASES MONITOR NATURAL ATTENUATION, IS WHAT THEY ARE SAYING. IT IS GOING TO CORRECT ITSELF. OBVIOUSLY, IT HASN’T DONE THAT AND WE DON’T WANT TO STUDY IT AND STUDY IT, THEY KNOW THERE IS AN ISSUE. SO FIX IT. EPA IS ROLLING BACK STANDARDS INSTEAD OF EXERCISING THEIR DUTY TO REGULATE. THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO BE FORCED TO DO IT WITH A DECREE.

>>GRANT: WHEN YOU PULL BACK AND THINK ABOUT THE OVERALL PICTURE, THE PRICE WE PAID TO HAVE SO MANY MILITARY INSTALLATIONS HERE, THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF THIS OVER THE YEARS FROM SANTA FE AND CANNON AND EVERY PART OF THE STATE SEEMS TO HAVE HAD — URANIUM MINING IN THE GRANTS AREA. HOW DO WE BALANCE ALL OF THIS WHAT WE GET OUT OF OUR MILITARY FOLKS WHO WE LOVE BEING HERE, SUPPLYING LOTS OF JOBS AND A LOT TO OUR BOTTOM LINE, BUT THERE IS A PRICE WE PAY FOR IT.

>>SANCHEZ-RIVET: IT BRINGS A LOT OF BENEFITS AND I CERTAINLY SUPPORT HAVING INSTALLATIONS HERE. I THINK THEY HAVE RIPPLE EFFECTS ECONOMICALLY AND THEY ARE AN IMPORTANT ASSET TO HAVE HERE IN THE STATE. WE GET A LOT OF FEDERAL FUNDING AS A RESULT OF THAT, MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE BUT WHEN IT COMES TO ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS, THEY NEED TO HAVE A MORE PROACTIVE APPROACH. THEY CAN’T BE PASSIVE ABOUT IT AND THAT IS THE POINT THE GROUP IS TRYING TO MAKE IS THAT THEY HAVE BEEN VERY PASSIVE IN THEIR APPROACH. OF COURSE, THE AIR FORCE IS SAYING, WE ARE BEING DELIBERATE TRYING TO BE THOROUGH. BUT IT HAS BEEN A VERY LONG TIME. THIS GROUP IS FED UP AND LOOKING FOR ACTION AND WE’LL SEE WHAT THE JUDGE SAYS.

>>FOLEY: ONE THING THAT IS IMPORTANT IS TO SEPARATE, YOU TALK ABOUT NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR RIGHT? WE EXPECTS THERE BE NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR IN THE ENVIRONMENT ON OUR COMMUNITIES AND WE’RE WILLING TO MAKE THAT TRADE, RIGHT? WE ARE WILLING TO GIVE UP PROPERTY, GIVE IT FOR NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR, BUT WHEN YOU FIND OUT, WELL, THIS IS ABOVE AND BEYOND, RIGHT? THIS IS A LEGITIMATE — THIS IS NOT NORMAL AMOUNT OF FUEL THAT JUST LEAKED BY FUELING AIRPLANES AND PEOPLE SPILLING IT. THIS IS AN INABILITY TO MANAGE TANKS IN THE GROUND AND IT WAS DUMPING AN UNREGULATED AMOUNT. THIS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR BECAUSE SOMEBODY WOULD HAVE BEEN SAYING, WHERE IS ALL MY GAS GOING? THE MILITARY JUST KEEPS FILLING IT AND FILLING IT. AND, SO, I THINK THAT THE FRUSTRATION FOR ME AND I THINK LAURA IS RIGHT ON, WE ARE WILLING TO GIVE UP SOME THINGS TO HAVE THESE OPPORTUNITIES IN OUR COMMUNITY, WHETHER IT IS JETS FLYING OVER, HOUSING PROBLEMS, IT DOESN’T MATTER. WE WELCOME ALL OF THAT.  WHAT WE ARE NOT HAPPY WITH IS WHEN IT GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND THE NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR AND THE RESPONSE IS THAT IS NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR, YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN IT WAS COMING, THAT IS WHERE PEOPLE ARE FRUSTRATED AND THAT IS WHERE WE ARE.

>>GRANT: PICK UP ON WHAT DAN MENTIONED EARLIER  ABOUT THE DELEGATION.

>>MULRYAN: WE NEED TO BE CLEAR, FOR EVERY DOLLAR WE SEND IN FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS TO WASHINGTON, WE GET BACK. AND NEW MEXICO HAS A LONG HISTORY. WE BIRTHED THE ATOM BOMB. THERE IS NO QUESTION AND MAYBE WE WEREN’T AWARE OF THE CONSEQUENCES, BUT WE ARE — WE HAVE MADE A DEAL AND I THINK IT IS A VERY CLEAR DEAL, IT IS ALL WRITTEN OUT, WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BUT WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS CAUGHT, THEY SHOULD FIX IT AND MOVE ON. THIS IDEA TO STRETCH IT OUT, LET’S LITIGATE IT, LET’S AVOID FIXING IT.  FIX IT AND BE DONE WITH IT. YOU KNOW, IT CAN BE THAT EASY.

>>GRANT: ABSOLUTELY, THANK YOU ALL FOR THINKING ABOUT THIS STUFF AND DIGGING IN, ABSOLUTELY, AGAIN THIS WEEK. SEE YOU AT THE TABLE SOON.

Our Land: Kirtland Air Force Base Fuel Spill Update

OurLand Kirtland

October 11, 2019 – New Mexico’s past, present and future are inextricably linked to the military. While the state’s three military bases, two national labs and other test sites provide a steady stream of federal dollars, they come at a cost. In Albuquerque, decades of jet fuel leaks at Kirtland Air Force Base have polluted the soil and water below the state’s largest city. Since 2015, the Air Force has been cleaning up in earnest. Local leaders say they’d still like to have more information about how much of the spill has been remediated. Environmental correspondent Laura Paskus visits the military’s treatment facility.

Guests:
Kate Lynnes, Senior Advisor, Bulk Fuels Facility Remediation Project
Maggie Hart Stebbins,Bernalillo County Commissioner
Diane Agnew, Environmental Manager, Albuquerque Water Utility Authority 

For Further Reading:

The Plume That Would Not DieWeekly Alibi

Interest wanes in KAFB spill advisory boardNM Political Report

Inside the fuel treatment facility — New Mexico Environment Department