SANTA FE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — The EPA announced it will move forward on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s petition to list several per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals as hazardous constituents under federal law, according to a press release by the Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The EPA detailed its intention to list these hazardous chemicals under the federal hazardous waste law, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in a response letter sent to Gov. Lujan Grisham.
In addition, the EPA will propose a second rule that states can require “clean-up of any waster that meets the RCRA statutory definition of a hazardous waste,” according to the release.
This comes after PFAS chemicals from firefighting foam used by the United States Department of Defense (DOD) contaminated groundwater at both the Cannon and Holloman Air Force bases. According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, this contamination of the groundwater impacted one dairy farmer near Cannon Air Force Base, which he said caused him to lose more than 1,000 animals and dump more than 72 million pounds of milk.
Earlier this month, officials with the federal government announced that a broad strategy was announced to regulate “toxic industrial compounds associated with serious health conditions” used in products like firefighting foams. According to previous reports, the plan is intended to restrict PFAS from being released into the environment, accelerating the cleanup of sites that are contaminated by PFAS, including military bases.
“I applaud Administrator Regan for affirming my petition and empowering states to follow New Mexico’s lead in holding PFAS polluters accountable,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “But the fight is not over. New Mexico will continue to lead on the issue of PFAS contamination – because everyone deserves to live in a community free of environmental contamination.”
According to the release, the state of New Mexico’s attempts to require the DOD to clean up the contamination was initially met with a lawsuit, challenging the state’s authority on this front.
“We can only make progress for communities suffering from PFAS pollution if we work collaboratively across levels of government and harness our collective resources and authority,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in the release. “Today, we are taking important steps toward developing new scientific approaches to confront these dangerous chemicals and strengthening the ability to clean up PFAS contamination. I thank Governor Lujan Grisham for her engagement and leadership, which will lead to better protections for people in New Mexico and across the country.”
This story is developing. Check with MyHighPlains.com for updates