The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and New Mexico Office of the Attorney General filed suit March 5 against the U.S. Air Force to compel the military to address PFAS contamination at Cannon and Holloman Air Force Bases. Alleging violations of the state’s Hazardous Waste Act, the complaint requests that the Air Force pay for abatement activities and comply with state water requirements to clean up contamination from high concentrations of PFAS in groundwater associated with firefighting foam.
Inside EPA reported last week on the opposition by the Air Force to NMED’s hazardous waste definition in a recently renewed 10-year RCRA permit for Cannon Air Force Base. The state permit governs contamination investigation and remediation at the base, and defines hazardous waste as including contaminants like PFAS. The Air Force argues that the designation exceeds the scope of RCRA because U.S. EPA does not regulate PFAS.
EPA’s PFAS action plan outlines its intent to list two PFAS compounds as hazardous substances under the Superfund law, which could end the dispute over state enforcement surrounding chemicals not listed under the statute.
This development also comes on the heels of reports that a New Mexico dairy farmer had to euthanize all 4,000 of his cows due to groundwater contamination of PFAS from a nearby military installation. New Mexico is the latest state to develop its own guidelines to regulate PFAS.