facebook linkedin twitter

Bipartisan Effort Assures Inclusion of PFAS Provisions in Defense Bill

July 21, 2020 by Dan McCue
Bipartisan Effort Assures Inclusion of PFAS Provisions in Defense Bill
Coast Guard oversees pollution response in Baltimore. (Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges)

WASHINGTON – Bipartisanship ruled the day Monday when several amendments were added to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021 to better regulate a class of cancer-linked chemicals on military bases and surrounding communities.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS chemicals, are found in a number of industrial and household products, including firefighting foam.

They were, for a time, seen as a kind of miracle chemical because of their versatility. But a number of studies have linked PFAS chemicals to birth defects, infertility, developmental delays and some cancers.

Since then, PFAS pollution has been detected at more than 678 military installations and the surrounding groundwater. Despite the findings, progress in cleaning up legacy pollution and reducing ongoing exposures has been slow.


House Democrats and Republicans worked together all day Monday to pass several amendments to the NDAA, must-pass legislation that is expected to pass the House Tuesday evening.


The lawmakers championing the stricter policies were Reps. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., Deb Haaland, D-N.M., Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., Andy Levin, D-Mich., Antonio Delgado, D-N.Y., Jackie Speier, D-Calif., Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Dan Kildee, D-Mich., Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., Harley Rouda, D-Calif., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Andy Kim, D-N.J., Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., Madeline Dean, D-Pa., Bill Posey, R-Fla., Ro Khanna, D- Calif., Haley Stevens, D-Mich., and Peter Welch, D-Vt.

The added amendments:

  • Require the Pentagon to phase out the non-essential use of PFAS in everyday products like cookware, sunscreens, personal care products, floor and furniture wax, carpeting and upholstery, and food packaging;
  • Require the Pentagon to meet state PFAS clean-up standards when those standards exceed federal standards;
  • Place a moratorium on the incineration of PFAS by the Defense Department until safe disposal regulations are finalized by the Pentagon and the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Require the Pentagon to notify farmers when PFAS that originate on a military installation contaminate nearby groundwater;
  • Requires the Pentagon to publish the results of drinking and groundwater testing for PFAS conducted on military installations or former defense sites;
  • Expand blood testing to any active duty service members who want to have their blood tested for PFAS;
  • Provide $150 million for research into the development of PFAS remediation and disposal technologies as well as PFAS-based firefighting foam replacements;
  • Provide nearly $200 million in additional funding for PFAS remediation at active and former military installations, including National Guard facilities;
  • Require federal experts to conduct a study on the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting equipment and the risk posed to firefighters, and expands a study of PFAS contamination in eight communities; and
  • Clarify that manufacturers using PFAS must disclose all discharges of the chemicals of more than 100 pounds.

However, late last week, a broader amendment presented by Reps. Dingell and Posey that would have designated PFAS a hazardous air pollutant in an attempt to clean up the substance was determined to be outside the bill’s rules.

“It’s disappointing that my bipartisan amendment, which cleared the House earlier this year on a strong bipartisan vote, is being ruled out of order to the NDAA because of budgetary points of order,” Dingell said in a statement.


That disappointment aside, advocates for the cleanup applauded the representatives for what they were able to get down.

“Thanks to bipartisan efforts, Congress remains as determined as ever to help combat the ballooning PFAS contamination crisis that is impacting military bases and nearby communities throughout the country,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based non-profit.  “EWG applauds House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith and a large bipartisan group of House members for keeping the pressure on the Pentagon to address the toxic PFAS contamination crisis.”

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Military

May 18, 2022
by Dan McCue
US Army Leading By Example On Climate Change Adaptation

WASHINGTON — Though its primary mission remains warfighting, the U.S. Army is playing a leading role in an entirely different... Read More

WASHINGTON — Though its primary mission remains warfighting, the U.S. Army is playing a leading role in an entirely different battle — the nation’s response to the challenges of climate change. The scope of this mission is laid out in the Army’s Climate Change Strategy, which... Read More

May 18, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
UFOs Described at Congressional Hearing as Potential National Security Threat

WASHINGTON — Defense intelligence officials told a congressional panel Tuesday that sightings of "unidentified aerial phenomena" are increasing but they... Read More

WASHINGTON — Defense intelligence officials told a congressional panel Tuesday that sightings of "unidentified aerial phenomena" are increasing but they could not explain why. They don’t know where they come from or how the ultra-fast flying discs stay in the air. Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence... Read More

May 13, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Space is the Future for National Defense, Military Officials Tell Congressional Panel

WASHINGTON — Space was described as the final frontier for defending the United States against weapons of mass destruction from... Read More

WASHINGTON — Space was described as the final frontier for defending the United States against weapons of mass destruction from China and Russia at a congressional hearing Friday. Leading the U.S. defense effort is the Space Force, a new branch of the military that seeks to... Read More

May 9, 2022
by Dan McCue
US Army Awards Ameresco Energy Storage System Contract

FREDERICK, Md. — The U.S. Army has awarded the Federal Solutions Group of Ameresco Inc. a contract to add a... Read More

FREDERICK, Md. — The U.S. Army has awarded the Federal Solutions Group of Ameresco Inc. a contract to add a comprehensive battery storage system to the existing 18.6-MW solar energy facility at the Fort Detrick Army Garrison in Maryland. Ameresco, a clean-tech integrator specializing in energy... Read More

April 26, 2022
by Reece Nations
World Military Expenditures Exceed $2T for First Time 

STOCKHOLM — Worldwide military spending reached an all-time high of $2.113 trillion in 2021, the seventh consecutive year of increased... Read More

STOCKHOLM — Worldwide military spending reached an all-time high of $2.113 trillion in 2021, the seventh consecutive year of increased global military expenditures. Data published on Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute found the world’s top military spenders in 2021 were the United States,... Read More

April 20, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Justice Dept. Sues Towing Company for Auctioning Service Members’ Cars

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Justice Department is suing a Virginia towing company it accuses of towing and auctioning the... Read More

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Justice Department is suing a Virginia towing company it accuses of towing and auctioning the vehicles of military service members while they were deployed on active duty. The lawsuit says Steve’s Towing Inc. of Virginia Beach violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top