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State Files Preliminary Injunction Against Air Force To Compel It To Address PFAS Contamination

on July 27, 2019 - 10:38am
NMED News:
ALBUQUERQUE — Thursday, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a request in federal court for emergency relief from environmental contamination caused by per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
“I am extremely frustrated that the Air Force has not been responsive to protecting the health and safety of New Mexican families by addressing years of environmental pollution,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas. “Because of their delay and failure to act, Secretary Kenney and I are asking the Court to ensure timely protection of New Mexico’s people, wildlife, and environment from this ongoing and devastating pollution.”
“We will not allow this contamination to further threaten New Mexican’s health and the environment,” NMED Secretary James Kenney said. “In the absence of responsible and timely action on the part of the Air Force, the state will continue to seek whatever legal avenues available to compel clean up.”
The state is requesting the court order the Air Force to immediately begin delineating the groundwater plumes caused by decades of use of a PFAS-based firefighting foam at Cannon and Holloman Air Force bases by conducting regular groundwater and surface water sampling. The state is also requiring the Air Force provide alternative water sources and water treatment options to New Mexicans affected by the contamination, voluntary blood tests for residents who may have been exposed to PFAS and additional documentation on the extent of contamination around the bases.
NMED and the Attorney General sued the Air Force in April. The preliminary injunction requested today would ensure the health of New Mexicans and the environment are protected as the case proceeds.
The agencies also filed an amended version of the original complaint today to reflect violations of the federal Resource Conservation Recovery Act pursuant to authorities granted to the New Mexico by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These claims are in addition to violations of the State’s Hazardous Waste Act.
PFAS are a large group of toxic, manmade chemicals with numerous adverse health impacts, including increasing the risk of some cancers; affecting the growth, learning and behavior of children; and interfering with the immune system. For more information on PFAS, please visit