Read the full article by Melanie Benesh (Environmental Working Group)
“For years, states have led the way in addressing the toxic ‘forever chemicals‘ known as PFAS, with six setting strict drinking water limits for the chemicals and at least eight using their power under hazardous waste laws. But the Department of Defense is fighting these efforts.
The DOD has repeatedly failed to commit to meeting state standards when cleaning up PFAS pollution from military bases. What’s worse, having contaminated hundreds of communities with PFAS, the Pentagon is now battling states trying to protect their communities from the toxic chemicals.
Congress needs to hold the DOD accountable and force it to comply with state standards for addressing the contamination.
PFAS are a large family of fluorinated chemicals, some linked to cancer, reproductive harm, immune system damage and other serious health problems.
The Pentagon versus New Mexico
The DOD is pushing back on New Mexico’s efforts to address PFAS through hazardous waste permits.
Cannon Air Force Base is in the eastern part of the state, near the Texas border, surrounded by agricultural and grazing land. For decades, a PFAS-laden firefighting foam called aqueous film forming foam, or AFFF, was used on the base, contaminating nearby farmland and groundwater significantly. As a result, dairy farmers lost millions of dollars and in some cases had to euthanize cattle.
New Mexico’s government is trying to address this contamination through the state-issued hazardous waste permit that covers the base, but the DOD is aggressively fighting back.
The primary federal hazardous waste law, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or RCRA, lets states set up their own hazardous waste management programs. The programs require waste generators, such as military bases, to obtain permits with restrictions on how waste is handled, transported, stored and disposed. Permits can also include a requirement for permit holders to clean up hazardous releases into the environment.”…