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Desertrat56

Letters from Tom Udall

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Desertrat56

2019 was an exciting year. We kicked it off with a brand new Congress that set a record for diversity, and we got to work on new and important legislation. I introduced and advanced a wide range of bills, from the For The People Act – to get money and corruption out of politics and bring accountability back to Washington— to bills that protect our wildlife and public lands and take bold action to fight climate change.

Sometimes change is slow, and it can be easy to get discouraged. Our current political environment leaves plenty to be desired. But there is progress, and reason for hope. And as the year comes to an end, I wanted to tell you about some of the successes we had this year for New Mexico, and look ahead at the hard work to do in 2020 and beyond.

Climate change is the greatest threat to our world, and in particular, to our way of life in New Mexico. The global scientific community has spoken out unequivocally about this threat—so Congress needs to act. And we also need to protect our beautiful outdoor spaces, across the nation and at home in the Land of Enchantment – because they are central to our state’s character and economy. In order to protect our natural heritage for generations to come, I helped secure permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, secured relief for New Mexican farmers impacted by toxic chemicals known as PFAS, and introduced a new, gamechanging goal for our nation: conserving 30 percent of our land and water by 2030. Together, we can make this happen.

This year also marked a solemn anniversary: the 18th year of the war in Afghanistan. New Mexicans and so many other brave Americans have served their nation in uniform in this war – many of them giving the ultimate sacrifice. Eighteen years after this war began, it’s time to bring our troops home. I introduced legislation to do just that, as well as to prevent our nation from being dragged into another war in the Middle East without Congressional approval.

Speaking of Congressional approval, I worked to ensure that we uphold the Constitution and the rule of law in our government. I fought to stand up for our border communities and prevent the President from taking funding away from New Mexico’s military bases in order to build his wall. Because New Mexico’s military families—and the safety of our nation—shouldn’t pay the price for a political project. 

Udall_DFA

Ultimately, if we want our government to work better for the American people – then we need to enact reforms to restore the democracy and values that our nation was founded upon. That’s why I am fighting for the For the People Act and Democracy For All Amendment: because only when we rid our political system of corruption and big money – and make sure the people’s voices are really heard – will we get to work on the American people’s priorities in earnest.

There’s a lot of good work that happened this year. I was proud to head up bills that protect our roads from drunk drivers, pass the Esther Martinez Native languages bill, continue fighting for Tribes as vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and work to protect the health care of New Mexico families. If you want to read more about what we accomplished for New Mexico in 2019, click here.

I look forward to continuing the honor of representing all New Mexicans in the new year. Happy holiday season!

Best Wishes,

Tom Udall signature

Tom Udall
United States Senator

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Saru

Can you supply a source link for this ?

Thank you.

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Desertrat56
February 7, 202

Thank you for contacting me regarding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that are used by the military in certain exercises, and the negative impact these substances have on the environment.

PFAS is a group of chemicals that include PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), and GenX, among others. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS substances can cause a variety of health issues. Studies indicate that PFOA and PFOS can cause reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals. Both chemicals have caused tumors in animals. Other findings indicate that exposure to PFAS can cause low infant birth weights, effects in the immune system, cancer, and thyroid hormone disruption.

These chemicals are found in a wide range of consumer products that we use everyday such as stain and water repellent fabrics, nonstick products, paints, cleaning products, and firefighting foams, among many others. Traces of PFAS substances have been found in foods that are packaged in PFAS-containing materials or grown in PFAS contaminated soil or water; drinking water, typically localized and associated with a specific facility; and living organisms such as fish, animals, and humans.  Higher concentrations from manufacturing associated with PFAS and consistent use that leads to concentrated releases to the environment have the most serious reason for concern.

In the 1970s, the U.S. Air Force began purchasing and using aqueous film-forming foam containing PFOA and PFOS to extinguish petroleum fires and during firefighting training activities. The use of firefighting foams has been linked to the contamination of groundwater near airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs. Specifically, in December 2018, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) found that groundwater around Cannon Air Force Base, located near Clovis, New Mexico, was contaminated with PFAS. NMED determined that the contamination was the result of firefighting training that included the use of foam containing PFAS that took place on the base. Additionally, the Pentagon has identified 36 U.S. military installations across the country where on-base drinking water contamination from PFAS chemicals exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) safety levels.  

New Mexico's military bases are important assets for our state. However, NMED's findings are concerning, as is the extensive use of dangerous chemicals such as PFAS in general.  Last year I led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing an amendment to H.R. 5515, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, to require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to publish an unreleased federal study about widespread water contamination from commonly-used chemicals. According to media reports and publicly available emails, officials at the EPA blocked the release of the HHS report showing that far lower levels of PFAS chemicals threaten human health than previously known.

The amendment required the release of the HHS study that reportedly increases warnings about human exposure to PFAS chemicals, which are widely used commercially and are found in water systems that serve millions of people across the country. Publicly available communications show that the HHS study was completed in January 2018. In addition to requiring the release of the HHS study, the amendment also required that HHS report to Congress about any changes that were made to the PFAS study after January 2018, when the report was finalized. I have been pushing for the EPA to set federal drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS. Without enforceable drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS, it is doubtful that a national management strategy will sufficiently confront the challenges PFAS chemicals pose to states and affected communities. On February 5, 2019, I joined my Senate colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, asking for the EPA to take action regarding this issue.

On March 6, 2019, I introduced S. 675, the Prompt and Fast Action to Stop Damages Act of 2019. This bill authorizes the Department of Defense to temporarily provide water uncontaminated with PFOA and PFOS for agricultural purposes to areas affected by contamination from military installations, and to authorize the Secretary of the Air Force to acquire real property to extend the contiguous geographic footprint of any Air Force base that has shown signs of contamination from PFOA and PFOS due to activities on the base. On March 1, 2019, I became a sponsor of S. 638, a bill that would require EPA to list PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act or "Superfund". This would allow EPA to move more quickly in preventing the use of PFAS and would allow federal funds to be used in clean up efforts. 

Congresswoman Debbies Dingell (MI) introduced H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act of 2019. It passed the House by a vote of 247-159 on January 10, 2020. On January 13, 2020, it was introduced in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works, where no further action has yet occurred. Please be assured that I will continue to work hard to address the health and safety concerns that exposure to PFAS and other chemicals causes, and to hold everyone, including the military, accountable for the use of these chemicals that are resulting in the toxic exposure of our military personnel and their families, and individuals in New Mexico and across the country.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me.  Please feel free to contact me with your concerns regarding any federal issue by visiting my website at www.tomudall.senate.gov.  For more information, you may also visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/senatortomudall and receive up to the minute updates through my Twitter page at http://twitter.com/senatortomudall.

Very truly yours,
Signature
Tom Udall
United States Senator

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Desertrat56
On 1/2/2020 at 9:38 AM, Saru said:

Can you supply a source link for this ?

Thank you.

Saru,

I just saw your request.  I do not have a link to this letter.  I copied it from my email but the source link for Tom Udall is

www.tomudall.senate.gov

 

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Desertrat56

Hello Friends,

This week, households across the country can start filling out the census, and I want to talk to you about how important it is that everyone complete it.

Every ten years, the census counts up the American people in order to understand who is in our communities and what their needs are. Then, funding for so many federal programs important to New Mexico is allocated based on those numbers.   

Seems simple enough, right? However—there are many situations that can lead to an undercount. Rural and low-income communities don't always get counted, whether it’s because forms don't arrive or census takers don't check in. And New Mexico has a lot of areas at risk for an undercount, including immigrant and Tribal communities.

Our communities could lose out on vital funding for health care and other programs that benefit New Mexicans and support jobs and our economy— because just a 1% undercount in New Mexico could result in around $1 billion lost in federal funds over the next 10 years.

We can't allow that to happen, and that's why I'm sending you this message. You can answer the census by phone, mail or online, and it’s important that you find the easiest method for you and fill it out. It’s only 10 questions. And after you do so, please check in with your friends. Communities have to work together to make sure we get a good strong count.

And it’s important to know that the 2020 Census does not have a citizenship question, and all information provided is kept confidential.

I've been highlighting the reasons why we need a complete count of New Mexico on my social media platforms. If you are passionate about our message of #CensusCounts, you can get involved in your own communities by working for the census and taking part in getting an accurate picture of our state.

 

Best Wishes,

Tom Udall signature

Tom Udall
United States Senator

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Desertrat56

I got the census login in the mail yesterday and logged in, filled it out in about 5 minutes.  Very easy questions.

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Desertrat56

Hello Friends,

This is a very difficult and unprecedented time for New Mexico and the nation – and New Mexicans are grappling with the health and economic pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Today, I have good news from Washington. Last night, we passed a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package. It’s not perfect—it was the product of tough negotiations—but it is going to make a big difference for working New Mexicans, small businesses, Tribes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. It’s a big bill, but I want to tell you about some of the highlights.

The bill:

  • Expands unemployment insurance,
  • Provides funding for Tribes and Native communities,
  • Makes relief available for small businesses,
  • Gives direct payments to working New Mexicans,
  • Provides resources for hospitals and health care workers who are on the front lines of this crisis,
  • Supports state and local governments in New Mexico,
  • Protects New Mexico’s national lab and federal contractor employees,
  • Includes funding for critical nutrition programs that serve families.

I am committed to working on behalf of New Mexicans who need help and services to ensure they are protected during this public health crisis. This means continuing our work, knowing that we can’t stop with this package.

I am wishing you, your loved ones, and your communities strength and health during this uncertain time. We’re all worried how long this will last, and what the impacts on our healthcare system and our people will be. 

But I am inspired by what I see our communities doing and I won’t stop fighting for New Mexico. We will get through this crisis – together.

Best Wishes,

Tom Udall signature

Tom Udall
United States Senator

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