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Kanner & Whiteley to Represent the State of New Mexico in PFAS Contamination Litigation against the United States and the Department of the Air Force

On March 5, 2019, New Mexico Attorney General Hector H. Balderas and the New Mexico Environment Department, represented by Kanner & Whiteley, filed a lawsuit against the United States and the Department of the Air Force related to the extensive contamination of the environment at Cannon Air Force Base (“Cannon”) and Holloman Air Force Base (“Holloman”) with polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as “PFAS.” PFAS are a family of man-made chemicals that repel heat, oil, stains, grease, and water that were a popular choice for a variety of household and industrial products, but are known to be toxic and pose significant threats to public health and the environment.

Aqueous film-forming foam (“AFFF”) is a PFAS-containing fire suppressant that was used for decades at the Cannon and Holloman bases in training exercises and in emergency response efforts. These releases of AFFF have resulted in PFAS contamination of groundwater, drinking water, and other natural resources both onsite at Cannon and Holloman and in the areas surrounding the bases at levels that are orders of magnitudes above the limits deemed safe by federal and state authorities.

This extensive PFAS contamination has created an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment in violation of the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act. The State seeks an order requiring the Air Force to fully investigate and clean up the extensive contamination at Cannon and Holloman.

The case is State of New Mexico, ex rel. Hector Balderas, Attorney General, and the New Mexico Environment Department v. The United States and The United States Department of the Air Force, No. 6:19-cv-00178-LF-KBM, United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. A copy of the complaint can be found here.

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