SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The governor’s office is petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to classify a chemical to the center of groundwater contamination as hazardous. Cannon and Holloman Air Force bases used firefighting foam that contained PFAS which then contaminated water.
The governor’s office says right now it’s up to states to regulate PFAS but classifying it as hazardous would set a standard for the entire country preventing future contamination. The petition was filed Wednesday. State officials are also pushing for more funding to clean up contamination.
According to a news release from the New Mexico Environment Department, their attempts to require the U.S. Department of Defense to clean up the contamination at Cannon Air Force were met with a lawsuit from the federal government challenging the state’s authority to do so.
The news release states that the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act provides a regulatory framework for managing hazardous wastes. The act defines discarded PFAS as a listed hazardous waste, so the EPA would set a clear path for states and the regulated community to manage PFAS, according to the news release. The news release also says this would also allow states, not the Department of Defense, to manage PFAS clean-up under existing state programs authorized by the EPA.
The EPA has yet to act on two petitions to list PFAS as hazardous waste, and the EPA is required to act on a governor’s petition within 90 days. The news release says the EPA must act on New Mexico’s petition on or before Sept. 21, 2021. Read the petition below: