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Rep. Kildee Leads Pushes for More Federal Resources to Clean Up Toxic PFAS Chemicals

December 4, 2020
Press Release
New Letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committees Highlights Need for More Investments to Clean-Up and Address Toxic Chemicals

WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, today led a bipartisan letter, signed by 58 other Members of Congress, to House and Senate Appropriations Committees, in support of robust funding in the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 21) spending bill to protect communities from harmful per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals. The letter outlines tens of millions of dollars in efforts to urgently address PFAS chemicals and ensure clean water.

PFAS chemicals have been found in our drinking water because of their use in firefighting foam and other commercial products. Harmful PFAS chemicals have been linked to serious health effects, including high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Furthermore, there is preliminary evidence that PFAS chemicals could exacerbate the effects of COVID-19,” the letter reads.

Congressman Kildee has worked with Republicans and Democrats at all levels of government to address PFAS chemical contamination. As the founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, Kildee has previously introduced legislation to set a national drinking water standard for PFAS, fund clean-up efforts and detect PFAS contamination at other sites across the country. In January, Kildee also championed the passage of the PFAS Action Act through the House.

Below is the full text of the letter:

Chairwoman Lowey, Chairman Shelby, Ranking Member Granger and Vice Chairman Leahy:

As you work to complete funding for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 21), we write in support of funding for the following provisions in this year’s FY 21 full-year appropriations bill. This funding will help to protect our communities from harmful per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals.

PFAS chemicals have been found in our drinking water because of their use in firefighting foam and other commercial products. Harmful PFAS chemicals have been linked to serious health effects, including high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Furthermore, there is preliminary evidence that PFAS chemicals could exacerbate the effects of COVID-19.

Therefore, we ask the following provisions be included in a final FY 21 full-year appropriations bill to help our communities protect themselves from harmful PFAS chemicals:

Defense Appropriations Bill

  • $83.1 million across Defense Department accounts to cleanup PFAS contamination at active military installations, including National Guard facilities; 
    • $11 million for the Navy Base Operations Support
    • $8 million for the Army Base Operations Support
    • $47.6 million for Army National Guard Base Operations Support
    • $16.5 million for Air National Guard Base Operations Support
  • $15 million for the continuation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s study on health exposure of defense communities affected by PFAS; 
  • $2.5 million for the Navy to develop a new military specification for fluorine free aqueous film forming foam (AFFF).
  • $5 million for an AFFF innovation prize to incentive new research to meet the requirement of fielding a PFAS-free AFFF alternative by 2024.
  • $50 million in research and development funding for both for the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) to develop and field-test PFAS remediation, treatment and disposal technologies.
  • A requirement that the Pentagon report to Congress on its program to test the blood of military firefighters for PFAS as part of their annual physical, set to begin in October.
  • A requirement that the Pentagon publicly release the levels of PFAS contamination found at each installation.
  • A requirement that the Pentagon report to Congress on the expected and actual costs associated with investigating and cleaning up PFAS at active military sites.

Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill 

  • At least $200 million within the Base Realignment and Closure Account to increase the pace of cleanup at former military installations affected by PFAS. 
  • A requirement that the Pentagon regularly report to Congress on the progress being made identifying and remediating PFOS/PFOA at closed military installations, including estimating current and future costs and timelines for remediation. 
  • A requirement that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continue collaborating with the Defense Department’s PFAS Task Force, academia, and other health institutions to monitor the health effects from PFAS. 
  • A provision encouraging the VA to establish and maintain a registry for veterans who may have been exposed to PFAS due to exposure to AFFF during their military service.

Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill

  • At least $14.5 million in additional funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) scientific and regulatory work on PFAS, including:
    • $2.5 million to support EPA’s regulatory work needed to designate PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under the Superfund law. 
    • $2.487 million for the development of wastewater standards, also known as Effluent Limitation Guidelines, for PFAS chemicals.
    • $1.5 million for setting Maximum Contaminant Levels for PFAS in drinking water.
    • $1.4 million to support the reporting of PFAS releases into the air and water under the Toxic Release Inventory, as required by the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
    • $3.5 million to help support research needs on PFAS in air, agriculture settings and Health and Environmental Risk Assessments.
    • $2 million to study the relationship between PFAS exposure and susceptibility to COVID-19.
    • $1.2 million to support U.S. Geologic Survey’s work to monitor waterways for PFAS, as required by the 2020 NDAA.  
  • $15 million for the multipurpose grant program included in the FY 20 appropriations bill, requiring that funds be used for assisting states with their regulatory, cleanup and remediation responses to PFAS contamination.

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill

  • A provision directing the FDA to review any new scientific information pertaining to PFAS chemicals and determine whether PFAS chemicals currently allowed for use as a food contact substance in food packaging continue to meet the safety standard of a reasonable certainty of no harm under the intended conditions of use.

Thank you and we look forward to working with you on protecting our communities from harmful PFAS chemicals.

Sincerely,

Representative Daniel T. Kildee (MI-05), Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-At-Large), Representative Donald Beyer (VA-08), Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Representative David Cicilline (RI-01), Representative Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Representative Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Representative Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Representative Suzan K. DelBene (WA-01), Representative Deb Haaland (NM-01), Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02), Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Representative Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Representative Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Representative Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Representative Ro Khanna (CA-17), Representative Andy Levin (MI-09), Representative Andy Kim (NJ-03), Representative Elaine G. Luria (VA-02), Representative Ron Kind (WI-03), Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Representative Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Representative Jesús G. "Chuy" García (IL-04), Representative A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Representative Jim McGovern (MA-02), Representative Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Representative Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05), Representative Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Representative Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Representative Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At-Large), Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Representative Chris Pappas (NH-01), Representative Brad Sherman (CA-30), Representative Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Representative Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02), Representative Jackie Speier (CA-14), Representative Bill Posey (FL-08), Representative Haley M. Stevens (MI-11), Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Representative Thomas R. Suozzi (NY-03), Representative Kathleen M. Rice (NY-04), Representative Mark Takano (CA-41), Representative David Rouzer (NC-07), Representative Bennie Thompson (MS-02), Representative Paul Tonko (NY-20), Representative David Trone (MD-06), Representative Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Representative Juan Vargas (CA-51), Representative Lori Trahan (MA-03), Representative Peter Welch (VT-At-Large)