Reps. Lujan Grisham And Luján Demand Air Force Secretary Address Cannon AFB Water Contamination

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) and Ben Ray Luján (NM-03) sent a letter to Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Air Force, Heather Wilson, after New Mexico’s Environment Department (NMED) issued a warning that water from several wells on and off the Cannon Air Force Base (AFB) have been contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján

These chemicals are found in foam used for firefighting and are associated with an increased risk of cancer.

The Department of Defense announced in April of 2018 that 126 bases had well contamination from the chemical foam. In August of 2018, Cannon AFB officials reported that initial tests showed there was no contamination of on base drinking water. Additional testing of private wells off base by the Air Force revealed that several wells were unsafe to drink.

The Members wrote: “We have serious concerns with the contamination found in and around Cannon Air Force Base (AFB) and the Air Force’s lack of leadership and immediate response to this situation…[and] disappointed in the Air Force’s communication with the affected public. The notification letters provided to the owners of affected wells did not include specific health risk information.

“In order to fully rectify this situation, it is essential for the Air Force to collaborate with New Mexico state agencies including NMED, New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA), and the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). The Air Force has an obligation to be responsive, timely, and transparent with all New Mexico state agencies,” the Members continued.

EPA reports show serious health implications of PFOA and PFOS exposure including, high cholesterol, increased liver enzymes, decreased vaccination response, thyroid disorders, pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, cancers, and reproductive and developmental complications.

The New Mexico Members asked the Air Force to provide a written response to NMED’s Sept. 26 letter requesting corrective actions; to release the detailed findings from their water well tests around Cannon AFB to NMED; to expedite the finalization of the Holloman AFB site inspection; and to provide NMED the results of all PFOA and PFOS testing of Kirtland AFB including the September 2017 site inspection report.

Find the full letter here.