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Reps. Kildee, Bergman Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Identify Toxic PFAS Chemical Contamination Sites in Michigan, Across U.S.

December 12, 2018
Press Release

Legislation Funds $50 Million to Search for PFAS in Water, Soil and Air

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) and Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-01) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help identify sites in Michigan and across the U.S. that may contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are toxic chemicals that are a threat to public health.

The Kildee-Bergman legislation would authorize $50 million for the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) to search for toxic PFAS chemicals in water, soil and air across the country. The bill would also help provide states like Michigan, as well as public health officials, with information to identify contamination and better protect communities.

“In order to speed up clean-up efforts and protect our communities, we need to first identify PFAS sites that exist in Michigan and around the country,” Congressman Kildee said. “This bill is an important first step in making sure that state and federal governments have the proper resources to clean up PFAS contamination. I am proud to work with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to make sure that Michigan families are not exposed to toxic PFAS chemicals.”

“Every family deserves the peace of mind in knowing their water is safe and clean. Limited data regarding breadth and scope of PFAS contamination throughout the state and country has left countless families with the feeling of uncertainty when it comes to whether their water is safe for consumption. Our bipartisan legislation takes the necessary steps to begin identifying the areas affected by these chemicals and allows for appropriate remediation plans to be set in place. I look forward to helping enhance community health as we gain a better understanding of the work ahead of us,” said Congressman Bergman.

Toxic PFAS chemicals have been used in manufacturing, consumer products and firefighting foam for decades and now have been found to be dangerous to humans. These chemicals have been used around many military bases and industrial sites, including the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, where PFAS have now leached into groundwater and local-area wells.

Despite knowing the potential threat of PFAS contamination, clean-up of the chemicals has proven to be an expensive endeavor, and many states and local communities do not currently have the resources to address the public health risk. The Kildee-Bergman legislation would authorize new funding to help states like Michigan address the ongoing contamination threat.

The Kildee-Bergman bill is also sponsored by Congressman Sandy Levin (MI-09), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Congressman Peter Welch (VT-At large) and Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-02). U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has previously introduced a Senate-companion bill, S. 3382.

Congressman Kildee has worked with Republican and Democrats at all levels of government to address PFAS contamination. In Congress, he has previously introduced legislation to ensure that veterans and their families exposed to toxic PFAS chemicals at military installations get the health care services and benefits they need through the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). And to protect from future contamination, Congressman Kildee and Congressman Upton lead a bipartisan letter calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen protections for PFAS in drinking water. In addition, they introduced a bipartisan bill to require federal facilities that are responsible for PFAS contamination to develop a plan of action with states affected by the chemicals.

Additionally, Congressman Kildee, along with U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, worked to include language authorizing a health study on PFAS exposure in the National Defense Authorization Act, which became law in December 2017. In September 2019, the three lawmakers successfully included funding to address ongoing drinking water contamination issues in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget bill.