PFAS Amendments to House Defense Bill Would Monitor Contamination and Speed Cleanup

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For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

WASHINGTON – Amendments proposed Tuesday to the House version of a must-pass defense bill would dramatically expand efforts to monitor and clean up contamination of the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS.

Amendments filed by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Rep. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.), Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Brian Pappas (D-N.H.) would: 

  • Designate PFAS as hazardous substances under CERLCA, the Superfund law. 
  • Accelerate PFAS cleanup near military and other federal installations.
  • Phase out military use of PFAS in firefighting foam by 2023.
  • End the use of PFAS in military food packaging.
  • Expand water quality monitoring for PFAS. 
  • Regulate incineration of PFAS wastes.

PFAS chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive harm have been found in the drinking water of millions of Americans. Under current law, there are no limits on PFAS discharges into the air and water, no requirements to filter contaminated water and no requirements to clean up legacy PFAS contamination. 

“Although these amendments will not address all of the challenges posed by PFAS pollution, they represent an important first step,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs for the Environmental Working Group. “We applaud Reps. Dingell, Pocan, Kildee, Kuster, Fitzpatrick, Pappas, Upton and Levin for making PFAS a priority.”

The Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020 includes many of these PFAS reforms, and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), has also proposed an amendment to the Senate version that would designate PFAS as hazardous substances under CERCLA. 

Both the House and Senate versions would phase out military use of PFAS in firefighting foam, but the House bill would set a deadline of 2029. The Senate deadline is 2023. Both bills also ensure that National Guard bases are eligible for federal PFAS cleanup funds. 

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