New Mexico sues Air Force over groundwater contamination at bases

New Mexico sues Air Force over groundwater contamination at bases
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New Mexico sued the U.S. Air Force on Tuesday over water contamination, arguing that the federal government has a responsibility to clean up leftover plumes of toxic chemicals, according to an Associated Press report

Regulators say that groundwater at the Cannon and Holloman air bases is contaminated with chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, according to the AP.

New Mexico alleges that the contaminated water poses "an immediate and substantial danger" to surrounding communities, according to the AP. The air bases reportedly affect water basins which serve thousands of people. 

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PFAS have been found at dozens of bases and manufacturing sites across the country, prompting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to say it will roll out a plan to limit the cancer-causing chemicals.

Democrats have accused the EPA of dragging their feet on implementing PFAS limits in drinking water. There are currently no enforceable drinking water standards related to the chemicals. 

"In the absence of cooperation by the Air Force, the New Mexico Environment Department will move swiftly and decisively to ensure protections for both public health and the environment," New Mexico's Environment Secretary James Kenney said Tuesday, according to the AP.

Kenney also suggested that the Air Force violated the public's trust.

"Today we begin holding them accountable," he said, according to the AP.

The Air Force declined to comment on ongoing litigation.