By Citizen Action New Mexico
In the late 1950s, Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force base built a new jet fuel loading facility to replace an older, leaking facility. The new one leaked just like the old one. For more than 40 years it leaked jet fuel—and the benzene and ethylene dibromide (EDB) found in jet fuel and aviation gas—into the surrounding soil. By the time it was discovered and stopped in 1999, 24 million gallons of jet fuel had spilled into the soil and groundwater. It is the largest underground toxic spill in U.S. history.
Since the leak’s discovery, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New Mexico Environment Department have yet to force the Air Force to remediate the spill or contain a toxic plume slowly migrating toward Albuquerque’s most productive wells. Kirtland AFB has not removed or treated a single gallon of contaminated groundwater. The NMED and KAFB promise to remediate the site, but current efforts are woefully insufficient: see our La Jicarita/Weekly Alibi investigation (The Environmental Disaster You’ve Never Heard Of: Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force Jet Fuel Spill).
Join Citizen Action New Mexico this evening for a panel presentation on the jet fuel spill and what we can do to force KAFB and NMED to clean up the toxic spill.
The panelists are:
Beverly Burris is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at UNM. She received her B.A. from Rice University in 1972 and her Ph.D. from New York University in 1982. She has published two book monographs and many scholarly articles, most concerning the changing workplace and the impact of computerization. She taught at UNM for over 25 years, and also served as the Chair of the Sociology department, the President of the Faculty Senate, and as a Commissioner on the NM Commission on Higher Education. She has lived in Albuquerque since 1986, and currently resides with her husband in the SE Heights, about 1 ½ miles from the Kirtland spill site.
Beverly has been a major contributor to Citizen Action and our efforts to bring forth an effective cleanup of the jet fuel spill. She has studied the most relevant technical information on EDB migration and groundwater speeds, and written numerous documents and published articles in support of our goal to achieve effective cleanup.
Beverly will be moderating the teach-in and speaking briefly, why the EPA 6 3d model DRAFT REPORT predicting 32 years before EDB hits municipal wells is a dangerously over optimistic time frame, again bringing more attention the the need for a comprehensive cleanup of this long neglected emergency.
David B. McCoy, an attorney, has been executive director of Citizen Action New Mexico since 2006. Citizen Action seeks to gain cleanup of hazardous and nuclear waste operations, unsafe nuclear reactor, open burning activities at Sandia National Laboratories, Kirtland Air Force Base and other New Mexico sites. A major goal is to gain public participation in decision making. McCoy’s activities over the years have involved halting roadside herbicide spraying with Agent Orange, cessation of smoking in California State University buildings, day worker rights, shutdown of the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant in Oregon, shutdown of two nuclear incinerators in Idaho, and permitting for hazardous waste facilities. Regulatory enforcement efforts have resulted in audits by the Environmental Protection Agency Inspector General.
Citizen Action currently is suing the NM Environment Department in the New Mexico Court of Appeals regarding the MWL for failure to enforce an order requiring a five-year review of the feasibility of excavation of the MWL be performed every five years. Citizen Action is requesting the Kirtland AFB jet fuel spill be placed on the National Priorities List.
Dave will be giving an overview of well documented inadequate Kirtland efforts for cleanup, and discussing the overall landscape of nonchalant response to the fuel spill in order to burst the myths an effective cleanup is underway, much less planned.
H. Eric Nuttall, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Nuttall has over 200 publications/presentations and directed graduate student research on in situ bioremediaiton, and teaches an annual course on bioremediation. Dr. Nuttall has developed and manages a very successful field site for in situ treatment of nitrate-contaminated groundwater. Dr. Nuttall is a member of the national Interstate Regulatory and Cooperative-working group (ITRC) for in situ bioremedation, technology verification, and chemical oxidation. This group had produced several technical guidance documents on bioremedation. He also has developed an in situ process to immobilized uranium and heavy metals which is being tested both by DOE at an UMTRA site and in Germany through WISMUT. Dr. Nuttall is a consultant with Los Alamos National Laboratories in this area and has consulted with MSE on field scale bioreactors.
Dr. Nuttall will be detailing the means by which successful cleanup has begin at one military site: Bethpage Naval base in New York. Far more resources have been brought to bare in the Bethpage cleanup effort: technological, cleanup management restricting, and committed involvement of their elected politicians. Bethpage presents a model by which, if implemented, Albuquerque could begin to realize an effort needed to protect us from poisoned water. Among other things, it is noteworthy that 3d modeling predicting time frames available before toxins arrived at municipal wells near Bethpage were 25 years, similar to the latest Kirtland predictions for EDB hitting our wells. Beithpage toxins reached ALL their municipal wells in 7 years.
What has occurred at Bethpage since then, had been massive increase in resources including financial.
A necessary component of Citizen involvement in Albuquerque, if we are to experience cleanup, will require much of what’s been done at Bethpage. Sen. Schumer of New York made cleaning up Bethpage a major priority, and fought to bring resources to bare by which their current successful effort began. Our Senators have been silent on the Kirtland spill. We need to demand they take this seriously, and get involved.
Born and raised in New Mexico, Rey Garduno has lived in District 6 for over 30 years. In that time, he has pursued an interest in film and photography, worked actively in both the education and health services, and served on the board of directors for numerous community organizations.
Rey received a Baccalaureate in Cinematography and Photo-Journalism from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California. Since 1986, Rey has owned Rey Garduño Photography. He frequently contributes travel and human interest articles and photos to local and national publications.
Rey has also worked extensively in education. From 1974-1986 he worked as a Public Information Officer for Albuquerque Public Schools, where he wrote news releases and photographic illustrations for both internal and external publications. He’s also been active as a parent in his son’s schools and on the Albuquerque T-VI Foundation Board.
In the health services field, Rey has worked as both a Public Affairs Representative at Tingley Hospital and a Marketing Director for UNM Hospitals. He worked on Health Fairs and cooperative marketing outreach efforts to bring services to untapped constituencies in New Mexico. The Health Fairs in January of 2001–2005 typically drew around 25,000 people.
Rey’s community engagement includes acting on the boards for Southwest Community Resources, Common Cause New Mexico, SouthWest Organizing Project, Spina Bifida Association of NM, KIWANIS Club of Albuquerque, and Hispano Chamber of Commerce Board, Education and Outreach.
Rey has been the Water Utility Authority (WUA) Board’s most vocal critic of Kirtland’s cleanup effort, and fought hard to hold Kirtland accountable. Rey sponsored WUA’s Resolution 12-14 nearly 2 years ago, requiring Kirtland to install much needed monitoring wells near and cabaaple of detecting EDB in Ridgecrest pumping stations.
Having sat on WUA’s governing board for a number of years, Rey is familiar with the inner workings of water distribution to our homes and businesses, and knows the consequences to Albuquerque as a whole should cleanup remain inadequate. Rey will be speaking of the serious consequences to Albuquerque’s future if cleanup is not addressed, in a comprehensive fashion… soon.
Dwight L. Patterson is the president and founder ofXitech Instruments, Inc. Placitas, New Mexico. Dwight received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Californian, Davis.
Mr. Patterson has spent the past 26 years inventing and manufacturing fuel oil recovery pumping systems for the groundwater protection market place. During these years I worked with several thousand top environmental professionals in designing groundwater clean-up systems for spilled gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and many other toxic chemicals. Mr. Patterson/Xitech installed a first of its kind jet fuel pumping system on Kirtland AFB at Bull Head Park with CH2M Hill back in late 2006. This pumping system recovered several hundred gallons of liquid jet fuel in 2007 from a depth of 520 feet. This pumping system provided CH2M-Hill/Kirtland AFB and the NMED with the understanding that Kirtland’s liquid jet fuel had reached the ABQ drinking water aquifer and had migrated off the Kirtland AFB property. This pumping system was purchased by the Air Force in early 2007 and is still sitting in a warehouse somewhere in on Kirtland AFB today NOT being used.
Mr. Patterson had given considerable time, effort and expertise to implore Kirtland, the Air Force, our Federally elected lawmakers and the Bernalillo Water Utility Authority of the threat this fuel spil poses to Albuquerque, what must be done for effective cleanup.
Dwight will be addressing the strangling bottlenecks in regulatory effectiveness, oversight and management of the cleanup.
In 1996 Senator Linda M. Lopez became the first-ever elected Hispana from Albuquerque’s South Valley to the New Mexico State Legislature.
Linda has spent her public career fighting for the needs of those who most often do not have a voice in the halls of government, but make up such a large part of our state. She has sponsored and pushed legislation aimed at ensuring that no child goes to bed hungry in our state, that no pregnant women is denied neonatal health care because their income status, and that Government serves its role in helping those most in need.
Linda has taken on corruption. As Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, she has for the first time initiated background checks to those appointed to the highest positions in state government. She has taken on special interests whose goal is to line their pockets at the expense of the citizens she serves.
Sen. Lopez gave full support to Citizen Action written and sponsored House Joint Memorial 13, helping to usher this legislation through the NM Legislature’s 2014 session, approved by large majorities in both the house and senate. This memorial, now supported as the will of the NM Legislature, is a centerpiece of what’s needed if Albuquerque is ever to realize a successful cleanup of Kirtland’s jet fuel spill.
Linda will be addressing the need for HJM 13’s independent panel guiding cleanup, and emphacizing the need for State Government to be far more committed to water issues statewide, given ongoing long term drought and dwindling supplies.
Linda – a single mother raising 13 year old Lorenzo Procopio – comes from a modest background where a sense of fairness and what is right were a part of her upbringing. She completed both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, and was on her way through law school when she left early to care for her elderly mother.