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New Mexico fines US Air Force millions over groundwater contamination concerns

Brittany De Lea

New Mexico wants the U.S. Air Force to pay up over concerns it may be contaminating groundwater.

The state’s environment department announced this week that the branch of the U.S. military violated state law regarding the protection of groundwater resources from certain per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. This group of manmade chemicals is believed to cause adverse health effects.

The Air Force’s permit for Cannon Air Force Base to release wastewater expired in March of last year. Yet it has still been “unlawfully” discharging water, according to the state.

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“The Air Force continues to ignore New Mexico’s environmental laws,” New Mexico Environment Department Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said in a statement. “Rather than address PFAS contamination, the Department of Defense shows no interest in helping afflicted communities and impacted natural resources.”

The penalty the state has levied against the Air Force is for just shy of $1.7 million. It is due within 30 days along with a discharge permit application, or the state is threatening additional penalties of up to $25,000 for “continued noncompliance.”

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A spokesperson for the Air Force did not return FOX Business’ request for comment about the fine.

The New Mexico Environment Department noted that the state’s attorney general’s office is engaged in litigation with the Air Force over other contamination issues.

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