House Moves Forward on Kildee Amendments Seeking to Address PFC Drinking Water Contamination
The Rules Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to take up two bipartisan amendments by Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) that seek to address drinking water contamination in communities, like Oscoda, that have been affected by the military’s use of perflourinated chemicals (PFCs).
Kildee joined Representatives Brendan Boyle (PA-13), Patrick Meehan (PA-07), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Ann Kuster (NH-02), Paul Tonko (NY-20) in introducing the bipartisan amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. Following consideration by the Rules Committee, they now move to the full House for a vote. It is expected that the House will vote on the full NDAA bill tomorrow.
The first amendment would require the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to conduct a study on the health impacts of exposure to two types of PFCs at military installations, perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, which have been found in high levels in drinking water near Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, among other places. The study would be conducted through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
The second amendment requires DOD to submit a report to Congress on the status of developing an alternative to PFCs. This amendment could come up for a vote as soon as today.
“For many years, the Air Force used PFCs at Wurtsmith Air Force Base and these dangerous chemicals have now contaminated the groundwater of Oscoda residents living near the base,” Congressman Kildee said. “The Air Force and the Department of Defense must do more to care for veterans and residents near bases exposed to these harmful substances. As a nation, we must take responsibility and make the proper investments to ensure that veterans and residents affected have clean drinking water. In the richest country in the world, no one should have to worry about access to clean drinking water.”
Congressman Kildee also introduced a bipartisan amendment to push the DOD to act swiftly in providing long-term drinking water sources to residents near current and former military installations impacted by PFC ground water contamination. The Rules Committee voted against taking this amendment up for a full vote.
Since learning of PFC contamination in drinking water around Wurtsmith Airforce Base, Congressman Kildee has repeatedly called on the U.S. Air Force to do more to help residents in the surrounding area get access to safe drinking water. Congressman Kildee also visited Oscoda multiple times to meet with local and state officials.
Congressman Kildee also recently met with the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to discuss PFCs’ impact on human health. Congressman Kildee continues to work closely with Oscoda Township, and federal, state and local agencies to prevent the further exposure to PFCs.