Senate Memorial on KAFB Jet Fuel Spill Winds it Way Through the Legislature

Editor’s note: The House and Senate are considering a number of memorials regarding the Kirtland Air Force Base Jet Fuel Spill and the Sandia Mixed Waste Landfill. Below is the text for Senate Memorial 42 introduced last week by Senator Cisco McSorley (District 16, Bernalillo County). It is currently under consideration in the Conservation Committee.


51st legislature – STATE OF NEW MEXICO – second session, 2014


Cisco McSorley



WHEREAS, Albuquerque has the largest underground contamination threatening any city’s drinking water aquifer in the history of the United States, now estimated at twenty-four million gallons, more than twice the Exxon-Valdez spill; and

WHEREAS, the department of environment has not exercised the necessary legal authority to order and enforce a comprehensive clean-up plan by the United States air force for the jet fuel spill; and

WHEREAS, aggressive and timely characterization and remediation measures have not been enforced by the department of environment since the spill occurred in 1992; and

WHEREAS, a conceptual site model for understanding the site and remediation of the site has not been developed and presented to the public; and

WHEREAS, the liquid plume of jet fuel and aviation gas containing benzene, toluene, ethylbenzine, xylene, ethylene dibromide and other cancer- and disease-causing chemicals is dissolving into ground water, extends more than a mile long and a one-half mile wide and is moving in the direction of Albuquerque-Bernalillo county water utility authority drinking water supply wells; and

WHEREAS, the air force recognized the spill in 1992, but there is still insufficient understanding of the size, depth and rate of the expansion of the plume of contamination; and

WHEREAS, the air force and other experts confirm that the dissolved plume of toxic and carcinogenic chemical ethylene dibromide will contaminate Albuquerque’s municipal wells; and

WHEREAS, eighty percent of the jet fuel plume has spread off of Kirtland air force base and is moving beneath Albuquerque’s homes and businesses; and

WHEREAS, the federal agency for toxic substances and disease registry states that ethylene dibromide is very persistent in ground water; and

WHEREAS, no comprehensive remediation plan has been put forth, and no direct remediation of the ground water has been performed, to remove the liquid portion of the jet fuel and the dissolved plume of ethylene dibromide from Albuquerque’s drinking water aquifer; and

WHEREAS, the full size of the dissolved ethylene dibromide plume is unknown, and there are no monitoring wells close to the city wells;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the New Mexico congressional delegation be requested to fund and assemble an independent task force of experts to report by November 2014 to the congressional delegation, the appropriate committee of the legislature, the Albuquerque city council, the Bernalillo county board of county commissioners and the Albuquerque-Bernalillo county water utility authority and to:

A. identify and make recommendations for implementation of an effective scientific plan for the use of technology to clean up the Kirtland air force base bulk fuels facility jet fuel contamination;

B. determine the emergency and long-term clean-up measures necessary to protect the public health and environment and the city of Albuquerque and its drinking water supply; and

C. work with the affected neighborhood associations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the governor be requested to direct all state and local agencies to fully cooperate with the task force; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the New Mexico congressional delegation.

Please contact members of the committee to encourage their support for the memorial:

Senator Peter Wirth Chair
Senator Benny Shendo, Jr. Vice Chair
Senator Joseph Cervantes Member
Senator Phil A. Griego Member
Senator Richard C. Martinez Member
Senator William H. Payne Member
Senator William E. Sharer Member
Senator William P. Soules Member
Senator Pat Woods Member
Senator John C. Ryan Ranking Member



  1. 2/17/14
    Senator Ryan,
    I believe I am still in your district …

    Please know that as your constituent, I heartily encourage your support of this Memorial 42 that would give needed attention and study to the Kirtland Air Force Base spill.

    Sometimes I think we as a community and nation lose sight of the importance of keeping our land clean for future generations.
    In the case of this fuel spill, we are also dealing with the number one resource – drinking water.

    Thank you for listening,

  2. Now we know the effectiveness of a “Memorial” as opposed to an actual “Bill”. A “Memorial” can only establish a list of “yays” and “nays”. There is probably only one legislator and one legislative hopeful with the courage to present this as an actual “Bill” with the full force of the law. I’m speaking of the current State Senator Linda Lopez and the hopeful appointee to Tim Keller’s final two years if he is elected auditor, Nancy Bearce. Senator Lopez has recently adopted the Fuel Spill as a cause celeb and Nancy has been riding herd on the issue for over 12 years for her role as the President of City Council District 6 Coalition of Neighborhood Assocs. Let’s get this Task Force funded and make it real in this next session. Contact all of the County Commissioners after Tim Keller is elected as State Auditor on Nov. 4 and ask that they appoint Nancy Bearce as State Senator to Dist. 17.

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