Months after suing the federal government over the discharge of toxic, cancer-causing chemicals that have tainted New Mexico's groundwater, Attorney General Hector Balderas now says he considers the lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force a public "corruption case."
"It's my position, looking at the entire set of facts, that this is not just an environmental battle for environmental cleanup," Balderas said during a phone interview Friday. "This is absolutely a corruption case, where a powerful federal entity needs to account to what have been very committed and loyal citizens in New Mexico.
More than 16 percent of the drinking water wells tested near Fort Jackson during the past six years have shown contamination from a toxic chemical found in hand grenades used at the military installation to train soldiers, according to recently released federal data.
In some cases, the pollution levels are high enough to exceed federal safety advisories for RDX, a chemical that can cause seizures and cancer in people from long-term exposure. In others, RDX in private wells has fallen within safe drinking water limits, Army officials and state regulators reported this week.
But the finding of any RDX, short for royal demolition explosive, is a concern.
Just months after federal inspectors found dead rats and rotting frogs in the reservoir system at Camp Pendleton in California, the Marine Corps says the base’s water supply is officially adequate for human consumption.