(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08) joined Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI-09), Dan Kildee (D-MI-05), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) in sending a letter that was signed by more than 160 bipartisan House members asking National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2019 conferees to retain House and Senate provisions that address PFAS contamination and cleanup.

The members said in their letter:

“By retaining these critical measures in a conference agreement, Congress can protect Americans’ health and protect our servicemembers from the dangers of PFAS. We respectfully request that you include a strong package of PFAS-related provisions in the FY2020 NDAA conference agreement,”

The signers of the letter are: Reps. Levin, Fitzpatrick, Kildee, Dingell, Aguilar, Barragán, Bass, Beatty, Bera, Beyer, Bishop (GA), Blumenauer, Blunt Rochester, Bonamici, Boyle, Brindisi, Brown, Brownley, Bustos, Carbajal, Cárdenas, Carson, Casten, Castor, Castro, Chu, Cicilline, Cisneros, Clark, Cleaver, Cohen, Connolly, Courtney, Cox, Crow, Davis (CA), Davis(IL), Dean, DeFazio, DeGette, DeLauro, DelBene, Delgado, Demings, Deutch, Doggett, Doyle, Engel, Escobar, Eshoo, Espaillat, Evans, Foster, Fudge, Gabbard, Gallego, García, Golden, Gomez, Gottheimer, Green (TX), Grijalva, Haaland, Hastings, Hayes, Heck, Higgins, Hill (CA), Himes, Huffman, Jackson Lee, Jayapal, Jeffries, Johnson, Jr., Keating, Kennedy, Khanna, Kilmer, Kim (NJ), Kirkpatrick, Kuster, Lamb, Larson, Lawrence, Lee (CA), Lieu, Lipinski, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Lowey, Luján, Luria, Lynch, Malinowski, Maloney (NY-12), Maloney (NY-18), Matsui, McCollum, McEachin, McGovern, Meeks, Meng, Moore, Morelle, Mucarsel-Powell, Nadler, Napolitano, Neal, Neguse, Norcross, Norton, Panetta, Pappas, Pascrell, Payne, Phillips, Pingree, Pocan, Porter, Pressley, Quigley, Raskin, Rice, Rouda, Rouzer, Roybal-Allard, Ruppersberger, Rush, Ryan, Sablan, Sarbanes, Schakowsky, Scott (VA), Serrano, Shalala, Sherman, Sherrill, Sires, Slotkin, Smith (NJ), Soto, Speier, Stevens, Suozzi, Swalwell, Thompson (CA), Titus, Tlaib, Tonko, Trahan, Trone, Underwood, Van Drew, Vargas, Velázquez, Wasserman Schultz, Watson Coleman, Welch, Wexton, Wild, Young, and Zeldin.

Organizations that have expressed support for the letter include:

Environmental Working Group (EWG); Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Sierra Club; League of Conservation Voters (LCV); Environment America; American Association for Justice; The Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists; Ecology Center; Clean Water Action; Environment Michigan; PennEnvironment; Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water; National PFAS Contaminated Communities Coalition; Westfield Residents Advocating For Themselves (WRAFT); Clean Cape Fear; Toxic-Free Future; Safer Chemicals Healthy Families; Southern Environmental Law Center; Alaska Community Action on Toxics; For Love of Water (FLOW); Water You Fighting For; Michigan Environmental Council; Environmental Justice Task Force Tucson; Safer States; Delaware Riverkeeper Network; Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council.

Read the full text of the letter here and below.

Dear Chairman Smith, Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Thornberry, and Ranking Member Reed:

As you work to finalize a conference agreement on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), we urge you to retain provisions that ensure our military is equipped to confront the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination challenges present at military bases and surrounding communities nationwide. These provisions would help to better understand the scope of contamination through reporting and monitoring, reduce or eliminate sources of PFAS pollution, and remediate PFAS contamination in military communities.

PFAS present a serious danger to our servicemembers and communities across the United States. They have been linked to cancer and damage to both reproductive and immune systems. Animal studies suggest that exposure to some PFAS above certain levels may be associated with developmental issues; changes in liver, immune, and thyroid function; and increased risk of certain cancers.[1],[2]

The military is using, storing, and planning to destroy millions of gallons of materials that contain PFAS, threatening the health of military personnel and Americans living near military facilities.[3],[4] The FY2020 NDAA can help chart a new course that protects military personnel and surrounding communities from further exposure to harmful PFAS. That is why both chambers of Congress supported PFAS-related provisions in the underlying bill and in amendments.  Critical PFAS provisions in the House or Senate NDAAs include provisions that would:

  • Quickly phase out military use of PFAS in firefighting foam;
  • End the use of PFAS firefighting foams in training exercises;
  • End the use of PFAS in military food packaging;
  • Require ground and drinking water quality monitoring for PFAS;
  • Require reporting of industrial discharges of PFAS;
  • Ensure proper incineration of military PFAS wastes;
  • Provide guidance on the destruction and disposal of PFAS wastes;
  • Accelerate PFAS cleanups at military facilities through the use of cooperative agreements;
  • Designate PFAS as “hazardous substances” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also known as the Superfund law;
  • Require permits for PFAS discharges under the Clean Water Act; 
  • Require the Government Accountability Office to examine the Department of Defense’s PFAS cleanup efforts;
  • Provide funding for additional studies, data sharing, and remediation;
  • Require EPA to set a sufficiently protective drinking water standard for PFAS compounds; and
  • Require Department of Defense to treat and clean PFAS-contaminated water used for agricultural purposes.

By retaining these critical measures in a conference agreement, Congress can protect Americans’ health and protect our servicemembers from the dangers of PFAS. We respectfully request that you include a strong package of PFAS-related provisions in the FY2020 NDAA conference agreement.