Editor’s Note: This is an edited version of the Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) meeting announcement circulated by Jim McKay of Citizen Action.
Date: Tuesday, April 22
Time: 5:30 pm
Where: Caesar Chavez Community Center
7505 Kathryn Avenue SE Albuquerque
What’s different about this meeting?
Those of you who have put energy and effort into discovering the realities about Kirtland’s massive jet fuel contamination in our drinking water should definitely attend this meeting. Greatly increased public attendance will matter.
The Air Force has conducted these meetings for years without much opportunity for public input or discussion. There are signs this may be changing, and that the day is getting closer when Kirtland will be held to account in its legal and moral responsibility to actually clean up our aquifer rather than just talk about it.
As many of you now know, this is the largest toxic spill into a public water supply in U.S. history. Our local, state, and federally elected politicians have been largely invisible and silent on this issue, and there has been virtually no national attention cast upon this massive toxic event.
Now, however, PBS NewsHour (formerly the MacNeil/ Lehrer NewsHour) has committed to doing a segment on this “fuel spill,” and one of our own local journalists, Kathleen McCleery, is their choice to tell the story they will broadcast. This meeting will be a unique opportunity to showcase Albuquerque citizen concern and to demand Air Force accountability.
We believe the Air Force’s recent suggestion to the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority that the toxic chemical Ethylene Dibromide (EDB) be approved in our drinking water production wells at “diluted levels” (see John Fleck’s April 17 article “Air Force: ‘Dilution’ not an option for fuel spill” about how they now have backed away from that position) reveals that the Air Force has NO plans to clean our water.
The regulatory process is broken: the New Mexico Environment Department is grossly understaffed for this job, has failed to stand up to Kirtland’s influence and inaction, and lacks any public support in this endeavor from our governor or mayor. While Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office appears to be working on this issue, we need to put more pressure on the entire congressional delegation by turning out in full force for Tuesday’s meeting, with national news coverage and cameras rolling, to show that the citizens of Albuquerque are demanding that this job gets going. It has been long enough.