Read the full article by Susan Montoya Bryan (KOB)
“ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s top environmental regulator on Thursday warned state lawmakers that taxpayers could be on the hook for groundwater contamination since the U.S. Defense Department continues to challenge the state’s authority to force cleanup of ‘forever chemicals’ at two air bases.
The plumes of PFAS compounds are projected to move further beyond the boundaries of Cannon Air Force Base, and Environment Secretary James Kenney told a panel of lawmakers during a meeting in Clovis that it’s an urgent economic and environmental issue.
The state already has spent $6 million on the problem, he said.
The Defense Department has worked with other communities in neighboring Texas to remediate similar damage, but not in New Mexico, where the agency opted in January 2019 to file a lawsuit challenging the state’s regulatory authority.
Work also has been done in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Colorado, and Kenney said that leaves New Mexico as the only state being sued by the federal government over this issue.
‘We have to tackle this,’ Kenney told members of the Legislature’s Water and Natural Resources Committee, ‘and unfortunately we are tackling it as taxpayers, as opposed to the Department of Defense tackling it as the polluter.’
Records obtained by the state Environment Department through public record requests do not indicate plans by the federal government to clean up contamination beyond Cannon’s boundaries.” …