State files preliminary injunction against Air Force to compel it to address PFAScontamination

For Immediate Release: July 24, 2019 

Contact: Maddy Hayden, Communications Director
New Mexico Environment Department
505.231.8800 | [email protected]

Matt Baca
New Mexico Office of the Attorney General
505.270.7148 | [email protected]

ALBUQUERQUE — Today, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and Attorney General Hector
Balderas filed a request in federal court for emergency relief from environmental contamination caused by perand poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
“I am extremely frustrated that the Air Force has not been responsive to protecting the health and safety of New
Mexican families by addressing years of environmental pollution,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas.
“Because of their delay and failure to act, Secretary Kenney and I are asking the Court to ensure timely protection
of New Mexico’s people, wildlife, and environment from this ongoing and devastating pollution.”
“We will not allow this contamination to further threaten New Mexican’s health and the environment,” said
NMED Secretary James Kenney. “In the absence of responsible and timely action on the part of the Air Force, the
state will continue to seek whatever legal avenues available to compel clean up.”
The state is requesting the court order the Air Force to immediately begin delineating the groundwater plumes
caused by decades of use of a PFAS-based firefighting foam at Cannon and Holloman Air Force bases by
conducting regular groundwater and surface water sampling. The state is also requiring the Air Force provide
alternative water sources and water treatment options to New Mexicans affected by the contamination, voluntary
blood tests for residents who may have been exposed to PFAS and additional documentation on the extent of
contamination around the bases.
NMED and the Attorney General sued the Air Force in April. The preliminary injunction requested today would
ensure the health of New Mexicans and the environment are protected as the case proceeds.
The agencies also filed an amended version of the original complaint today to reflect violations of the federal
Resource Conservation Recovery Act pursuant to authorities granted to the New Mexico by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency. These claims are in addition to violations of the State’s Hazardous Waste Act.
PFAS are a large group of toxic, manmade chemicals with numerous adverse health impacts, including increasing
the risk of some cancers; affecting the growth, learning and behavior of children; and interfering with the immune
system. For more information on PFAS, please visit