Slotkin Leads 75 Members Across Both Parties to Demand Tough PFAS Provisions Stay in Final NDAA
WASHINGTON D.C. –– U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) led a bipartisan letter signed by over 70 members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, urging leadership on the House and Senate Armed Services Committee to maintain inclusion of tough provisions to fight PFAS “forever chemicals” in the final, negotiated National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual bill to fund the military. Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) joined Slotkin in leading the letter.
The Senate and House will begin conference negotiations on a final defense bill to send to the President’s desk in the coming months. The House passed its version of the NDAA in July, which included four of Slotkin’s key provisions to fight PFAS contamination, including one to require the Defense Department use the most stringent applicable standard, whether at the federal or state level, in cleaning up PFAS contamination from defense facilities. This provision would help Michigan as it fights to hold the Pentagon accountable for contamination in and around military bases in the state.
The letter notes that these and other PFAS measures passed in the House NDAA are critical to pass into law given recent Defense Department data showing that over 700 active or closed military installations have known or suspected releases of PFAS chemicals.
"Our communities have waited long enough, especially communities near military installations whose drinking water has been poisoned by these pollutants,” Slotkin and members wrote. “Meaningful PFAS provisions adopted in the House defense authorization bill would address ongoing and legacy contamination from PFAS chemicals, prevent further exposures to our service members and their families, increase transparency and public reporting efforts, and expand critical funding into the development of remediation and disposal technologies as well as fluorine-free firefighting foams."
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Slotkin has played a central role in securing the inclusion of PFAS provisions that have passed into law through the NDAA. Last year, Slotkin passed into law six key provisions to address PFAS contamination, including her PFAS Monitoring Act, which requires the EPA to include PFAS, for the first time, among the chemicals municipalities must test for in drinking water.
The full text of the letter is below and can be viewed here.
Dear Chairman Smith, Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Thornberry, and Ranking Member Reed:
As you work to finalize the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 conference report, it is critical we build upon the progress made in last year’s NDAA by including important provisions adopted in the House authorization bill that will help to safeguard the public and our environment from the harmful, toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals.
We know PFAS chemicals pose grave dangers to human health and our environment. Across this nation, including military bases, federal facilities, and industrial sites, we are finding a growing number of sites with PFAS contamination in drinking water systems, ground water, and surface water. According to recent data from the Department of Defense (DOD), there are over 700 active or closed military installations with known or suspected releases of PFAS chemicals.
Companies and regulators alike have understood the risks posed by these harmful, “forever chemicals” for decades but have failed to protect the American people. Our communities have waited long enough, especially communities near military installations whose drinking water has been poisoned by these pollutants.
Meaningful PFAS provisions adopted in the House defense authorization bill would address ongoing and legacy contamination from PFAS chemicals, prevent further exposures to our service members and their families, increase transparency and public reporting efforts, and expand critical funding into the development of remediation and disposal technologies as well as fluorine-free firefighting foams.
As you work to finalize the FY 2021 NDAA conference report, we urge you to maintain inclusion of provisions that:
- Require the DOD to clean-up PFOA and PFOS contamination to enforceable state standards, when those standards meet or exceed Federal health advisory levels. (H.R. 6395/Sec. 332)
- Build upon Sec. 329 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2020 by prohibiting the Defense Logistics Agency from procuring certain non-essential items containing PFAS, including cookware, personal care products, food packaging, floor and furniture wax, carpeting and upholstery, and uniforms. (H.R. 6395/Sec. 331)
- Require the DOD to notify all agricultural operations in an area where PFAS has been detected in groundwater that originated from use of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) on a military installation. (H.R. 6395/Sec. 334)
- Place a moratorium on the incineration of PFAS materials by the DOD until the Secretary of Defense finalizes guidance implementing Sec. 330 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2020 and requires DOD to report each year to the EPA about all PFAS incineration conducted.(H.R. 6395/ Sec. 340)
- Clarify Congressional intent by requiring manufacturers to disclose all PFAS discharges over 100 lbs. to the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory. (H.R. 6395/ Sec. 1772)
- Expand blood testing for PFAS to any active duty service member who wants to be tested if they were stationed at an installation with PFAS contamination or were suspected to be exposed to PFAS via AFFF -- and guarantees service members won’t be forced to shoulder any additional cost for PFAS blood testing. (H.R. 6395/Sec. 703)
- Require the DOD to promptly publish the results of drinking and ground water PFAS testing conducted on military installations or former defense sites. H.R. 6395/Sec. 335)
- Makes a technical correction to ensure that all National Guard installations are eligible for the Defense Environmental Restoration Account fund to clean-up PFOS and PFOA contamination. (H.R. 6395/Sec. 314)
- Require the DOD to notify the congressional defense committees when there has been an uncontrolled release of AFFF. (H.R. 6395/ Sec. 315)
- Increases the authorization for the CDC study of PFAS health implications from $10 million to $15 million. (H.R. 6395/Sec. 339)
- Establish a mechanism for public-private partnerships to facilitate development of a PFAS-free fire-fighting agent to replace AFFF. (H.R. 6395/Sec. 333)
- Authorizes $150 million for the research and development of PFAS remediation and disposal technologies as well as AFFF replacement.
- Authorizes an additional $190 million in BRAC and Environmental Restoration accounts to support acceleration of remediation activities and PFAS response.
- Requires NIST and NIOSH to conduct a study on the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting equipment and the risk of exposure faced by firefighters. Creates a grant program for additional research and improvements to firefighting equipment. (H.R. 6395/Sec. 341)
- Establish a prize program to encourage development of PFAS- free firefighting foam. (H.R. 6395/ Sec. 328)
- Require the DOD to survey and report on non-firefighting agent technologies that will help facilitate the phase-out of AFFF. (H.R 6395/Sec. 329; S.4049/Sec.313)
- Establish an interagency coordinating body for PFAS research to encourage a whole of government approach to PFAS research. (H.R. 6395/ Sec. 330)
The NDAA for Fiscal Year 2020 was an important first step in tackling the growing PFAS contamination crisis, but much still must be done to better understand the scope of the problem, curb ongoing PFAS releases and jump start cleanup of the most contaminated military installations across the country. These and other critical reforms are included in H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act, which passed the House in January with strong bipartisan support. As you work to finalize the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2021, we strongly encourage you to build on the progress made in last year’s NDAA by including important provisions adopted in the House authorization bill to safeguard service members, defense communities and our environment from PFAS.
Elissa Slotkin, Bill Posey, Nanette Barragán, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Earl Blumenauer, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Julia Brownley, Tony Cárdenas, André Carson , Joaquin Castro, David N. Cicilline, Steve Cohen, Gerald E. Connolly, Jason Crow, Madeleine Dean, Peter A. DeFazio, Diana DeGette, Rosa L. DeLauro, Suzan DelBene, Antonio Delgado, Mark DeSaulnier, Ted Deutch, Debbie Dingell, Mike Doyle, Veronica Escobar, Brian Fitzpatrick, Bill Foster, Tulsi Gabbard, Ruben Gallego, John Garamendi, Raul M. Grijalva, Deb Haaland, Josh Harder, Jahana Hayes, Brian Higgins, Kendra S. Horn, Chrissy Houlahan, Jared Huffman, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., Dan Kildee, Andy Kim, Ron Kind, Ann McLane Kuster, Andy Levin, Alan Lowenthal, Elaine G. Luria, Carolyn B. Maloney, Doris Matsui, Betty McCollum, A. Donald McEachin, James P. McGovern, Seth Moulton, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Richard Neal, Chris Pappas, Ed Perlmutter, Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Jamie Raskin, Francis Rooney, Harley Rouda, Michael F.Q. San Nicolas, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Albio Sires, Jackie Speier, Haley Stevens, Thomas R. Suozzi, Bennie Thompson, Paul Tonko , Lori Trahan, Fred Upton, Juan Vargas, Peter Welch, Susan Wild, John Yarmuth, Don Young