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$100 million in funding for Kirtland in House bill

Millions of dollars in funding could be on the way for military projects in New Mexico if the U.S. House version of the defense spending bill becomes law.

The National Defense Authorization Act for 2021 sent to the floor for a vote by the House Armed Services Committee also includes funding for the cleanup of toxic chemicals caused by the use of fire suppression foam at military bases around the country.

U.S. Reps. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., and Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., are members of the committee.

The Senate version of the bill has already been sent to the floor in that chamber.

“The NDAA is an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a future where New Mexico is at the forefront of innovation, everyone who seeks a long military career has access to success, and our military is ready for the challenges climate change presents,” Haaland said of the legislation.

More than $100 million would go toward projects at Kirtland Air Force Base, according to her office. That includes $50 million for an infrastructure program that would provide improvements for schools, day cares, roads, energy upgrades and other infrastructure and $46.6 million to update an administrative building.

Another $5 million would be used to expand the solar photovoltaic microgrid pilot project at the base.

The House legislation includes $120 million for upgrades for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s facilities.

Another $10 million would be used for testing hypersonic weapons capabilities at White Sands Missile Range, and additional funding would be secured for directed energy testing at the missile range, Torres Small’s office said.

Holloman Air Force Base would receive $5 million for a high speed test track.

The Magdalena Ridge Observatory would receive $5 million for its interferometer telescope to help track satellites, missile launches and deep space objects.

Sandia National Laboratories would receive $4.8 million for facility upgrades.

Haaland’s office said the NDAA sets aside $1.5 billion for environmental remediation and cleanup, of which $190 million will go to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination cleanup around military bases that was caused by decades’ use of fire suppression foam. An additional $150 million would be provided for the research and development related to PFAS remediation and disposal technologies and fire suppression foam replacement.

Torres Small’s office said the legislation would require the Department of Defense and the Department of Agriculture to notify dairy farmers if there was PFAS contamination in their area.

The legislation also includes $135 million for the oversight, maintenance, and management of privatized and government-owned military family housing, Haaland said.

HAALAND NAMED TO BIDEN PANEL: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign named Haaland to its Climate Engagement Advisory Council.

The council will advise the campaign on mobilizing voters who are involved with climate change and environmental justice issues.

Scott Turner: sturner@abqjournal.com

 

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