Read the full article by Joce Sterman, Alex Brauer, and Andrea Nejman (CBS 4 Local News)
“For years, Spotlight on America has been investigating contamination at military installations across the country, caused by the use of toxic firefighting foam that contains the so-called forever chemicals known as PFAS. As we’ve reported, cleanup is expected to take the Defense Department as long as 30 years, costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. But as the DoD struggles to find a way to fix the mess inside the fences of its bases, we discovered it’s now warning neighboring farmers and agricultural operators whose livelihoods may be threatened by the contamination.
Twice a day like clockwork, hundreds of cows are herded into the Highland Dairy in Clovis, New Mexico. The farm is the creation of Art Schaap, who built it from the ground up in 1992. His crews are so accustomed to the routine, they make quick work getting cows onto dozens of milking machines, watching as the lifeblood of this farm is pumped out gallon by gallon. But since late 2018, milking has been a futile effort. Schaap can’t sell an ounce of it.
Instead, waterfalls of white milk, as much as 15,000 gallons a day, are sent flowing down the drain. When it’s dumped, all Schaap sees are dollar signs. He tells Spotlight on America he’s currently losing between $8-10 million each year. That’s because his milk has been labeled unusable by state agriculture officials who suspended his permit for milk production as a result of PFAS contamination, court records say. PFAS chemicals, studies show, have been linked to cancer and other health problems in humans.
In Schaap’s case, the contamination appears to come from his neighbor, Cannon Air Force Base, which borders his property. Lawsuits filed by Schaap and the Attorney General of New Mexico allege that’s where toxic firefighting foam containing PFAS has been used for decades. State records show it tainted the groundwater, leaking out into Schaap’s sprawling farm. He says it contaminated the water that goes to his cows and has also worked its way into the irrigated crops that feed them.”…