Air Force to pay $250,000 settlement over ‘forever’ chemicals at New Mexico Air Base


The Air Force has agreed to pay a nearly $250,000 settlement over those “forever” PFAS chemicals at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico.

The settlement agreement was approved this week by the New Mexico Water Control Commission between the New Mexico Environment Department and the Air Base for alleged violations of state environmental groundwater permitting laws.

The agreement addresses an administrative compliance order issued by NMED earlier this year due to Cannon discharging without a groundwater permit and failing to provide NMED with required information about PFAS– a class of manmade chemical with harmful health effects – in the discharged water.

As part of the administrative compliance order, the U.S. Department of Defense will pay $250,947.60. Cannon submitted a complete discharge permit renewal and modification application to NMED earlier this year, in accordance with the administrative compliance order. The revised draft permit will be available for public review and comment later this year.

“Unfortunately, federal facilities in New Mexico have a history of disregarding state environmental laws,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “The integrity of every environmental regulatory scheme is rooted in compliance. U.S. Department of Defense facilities must comply with permitting requirements to protect our groundwater that New Mexicans rely on for drinking water and agriculture.”

The state remains in litigation with the U.S. Department of Defense over remedying the PFAS contamination at Cannon and Holloman Air Force Bases caused by decades of use of PFAS-containing firefighting foams.

Source: New Mexico Environment Department