The July 25 Kirtland fuel spill article by August March [v28 i30] quotes a representative of the SouthWest Organizing Project, Juan Reynosa, who refers to a “toxic plume of jet fuel in our water supply.” Mr. Reynosa goes on to say that SWOP’s community garden is “using city well water” and that “some members of the community wonder if we’re raising crops that are going to have poison in them.”
The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, which operates the municipal wells serving Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, wishes to reassure Mr. Reynosa and other concerned members of the community that no Water Authority wells have been affected by the fuel spill. The jet fuel plume lies to the southwest of our nearest well field, and sentinel wells between the leading edge of the plume and the nearest Water Authority well would provide ample warning before contamination of any of our wells occurred. We also sample and test the drinking water wells nearest to the plume on a monthly basis to ensure that the water remains safe to drink. Should any drinking water wells face an imminent threat of contamination, we would of course cease to use them before allowing jet fuel constituents into the water supply.
The Water Authority and its governing board have been working diligently with the Air Force and with the New Mexico Environment Department to ensure that no municipal wells become contaminated as a result of the fuel spill. Certainly some wells are under threat, but we are hopeful that ongoing cleanup efforts will completely eliminate the possibility of contamination. Albuquerque’s water supply, meanwhile, continues to meet all federal standards for safe drinking water and can be consumed with utmost confidence. A complete report on water quality in Albuquerque, updated annually, is available on our website at www.abcwua.org/Water_Report.aspx.
David Morris, Public Affairs Manager Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority
According to a 1987 EPA report, ethylene dibromide (EDB) “has been demonstrated to be a potent carcinogen in rats and mice.” Elsewhere in this report, the EPA classifies EDB as a “Probable Human Carcinogen.” A few pages later, the report says this category “is for agents for which there is inadequate evidence from human studies and sufficient evidence from animal studies.” That is, EDB is a probable human carcinogen based on inadequate evidence from human studies. (In these rat and mouse studies, the test animals were not fed EDB-contaminated water that would be consumed at drinking water levels. They were force-fed very large amounts of EDB.)
A report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) echoes this, saying there is “inadequate evidence” for human carcinogency, although the IARC goes on to seemingly contradict itself, saying EDB is “probably carcinogenic” in humans. Three studies have been conducted on workers who were occupationally exposed to EDB. Because of [the] limitation of these studies, the IARC says “little can be concluded” from them about the carcinogenicity of EDB in humans.
Ethylene dibromide is not a potent carcinogen unless you are a certain strain of rat or mouse. It’s probably not a carcinogen in humans. After all, even the EPA acknowledges that it has “inadequate evidence” from human studies to show that EDB is carcinogenic in humans.
Sincerely yours, Steven Dapra, Albuquerque
Where’s the Hype
I don’t think people realize that New Mexico is ground zero for monumental and unprecedented policy. We should be excited and proud. Above all ambitious. To recap: The newly elected Governor, Michelle Luhan Grisham, signed a zero carbon bill which mandates that NM be carbon free by 2050. However, things have been static instead of all-hands-on-deck attitude. Albuquerque’s potential in this is limitless; well, that’s if everyone is on board.
By everyone, I mean industry and private business as well. Specifically, fossil fuels (coal, natural, oil). Currently, they appease local government with education funding (NM is ranked 49th). So we put everything, even education, on the back burner for green policy. Not necessarily.
Firstly, switching to zero carbon will result in various new sectors of jobs. Such as renewable sources like wind and solar will create jobs. With that, the probability of energy prices decreasing [means that] extra income can go towards local economies, along with conservation and ecological jobs to monitor our water and wildlife. A workforce ready to revamp the power grid and make updates to new fire codes to prevent forest fires. Jobs from bike shops and compact electronic transportation business. Instead of gas stations, there would be power stations at every block, with maintenance crews available. Local sustainable farming and markets within walking distances. Also, a new workforce of skilled regulators and enforcers. A revamped recycling sector. Even save on healthcare since the communities are physical, depression decreased and vulnerable populations rehabilitated. All of which creates more revenue for bettering our education system.
New Mexico is transitioning into a blue state and even adopting progressive representatives to exhume that. Our next senator after Tom Udall leaves office should include a bold agenda for climate change. New Mexico will place itself on the map and ABQ will become a destination. So it won’t be difficult for us to pass legislation.
The fact of the matter is cities are where most people live. It’s crucial that not only ABQ gets this right but all cities. So ABQ will be the beacon and the case study.
I've always obsessed over the future and the authenticity of it. As a child, I would draw tons of things pertaining to it. I’ve now come to realize that it was a calling, therefore I have to place myself somewhere within that. I don't envision a punk dark-techno future (Blade Runner) nor a sterile utopia. There’s something more possible. Because of our capabilities, our future has arrived. But it has also arrived because all life won’t survive past 2050. Presently, we create and act on our future. We must. That in itself is where we can draw our hype from.
Solana Granados, Albuquerque
Justice for Zakariah?
On July 18, 2019, James Knight took a plea deal for Murder 2 in the double homicide of Zakariah Fry and Eugene Carrell Ray. He, Knight, is looking at spending the next 30 years incarcerated. This is a mere 15 years per each life that he took. [Thirty] years for taking two lives. Formal sentencing is not until sometime in August. The plea may be overturned. But as of right now, that is what it is.
While I am relieved that Zakariah and Eugene are getting justice, it is bittersweet. Mr. Knight is looking at the highest possible penalty for the crime he committed. I do hope this for Mr. Knight: I hope that he is able to learn from his actions, and that when this life comes to an end, he has grown into a better man for whatever comes next. His actions took away someone who was loved by the community, a young woman whom I wish I had been able to have met.
Z., there's so much that could be said, but words have all but failed me in what to say. The only thing that comes to mind is from Emilie Autumn’s album Fight Like a Girl (2012, The Asylum Emporium), Track 15:
“Goodnight sweet ladies/goodnight sweet friends/You [lie] but sleeping/someday we will meet again."
I know one day, all those whom loved you, all those whom you touched in life, whose lives are better because of you, will one day meet you under an arch of stars.
Rest well from now until eternity, Z.
Chesca Chrstine, Albuquerque
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