Community Letter -- PFAS Provisions in NDAA for FY 21

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

The Honorable Adam Smith -- Chairman, House Armed Services Committee      

The Honorable Mac Thornberry -- Ranking Member, House Armed Services Committee                                                         

The Honorable James M. Inhofe -- Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services

The Honorable Jack Reed -- Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services                                                        

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

On behalf of our millions of members and supporters nationwide, we urge you to include important provisions to address toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 conference report.

PFAS – often referred to as “forever chemicals” – contaminate the drinking water of tens of millions of Americans. To date, there are more than 700 active or closed military installations with known or suspected PFAS contamination.1 The House authorization bill included a number of critical provisions that would expand PFAS cleanup, protect servicemembers and their families from exposure to PFAS, increase transparency and public reporting, and expand funding into the development of remediation and disposal technologies as well as fluorine-free firefighting foams and PFAS-free firefighting gear.

In particular, we urge you to include the following House-passed provisions:

  • Sec. 332 – Requires the DOD to clean up PFOA and PFOS contamination to enforceable State standards, when those standards meet or exceed Federal health advisory levels.
  • Sec. 331 – Builds upon Sec. 329 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2020 by prohibiting the Defense Logistics Agency from procuring certain non-essential items containing PFAS, including cookware, personal care products, food packaging floor and furniture wax, carpeting and upholstery, and uniforms.
  • Sec. 334 – Requires the DOD to notify all agricultural operations in an area where PFAS has been detected in groundwater that originated from the use of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) on a military installation.
  • Sec. 340 – Places a moratorium on the incineration of PFAS materials by the DOD until the Secretary of Defense finalizes guidance implementing Sec. 330 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2020 and requires DOD to report each year to the EPA about all PFAS incineration conducted
  • Sec. 1772 – Clarifies Congressional intent by requiring manufacturers to disclose all PFAS discharges over 100 lbs. to the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, as amended by the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2020.
  • Sec. 703 – Expands blood testing to any active duty service member who wishes to have their blood tested for PFAS if they were stationed at an installation with PFAS contamination or were suspected to be exposed to PFAS via AFFF and guarantees servicemembers won’t be forced to shoulder any additional cost for PFAS blood testing.
  • Sec. 335 – Requires the DOD to publish the results of drinking and ground water PFAS testing conducted on military installations or former defense sites.
  • Sec. 314 (H.R. 6395)/Sec. 311 (S. 4049) – Makes a technical correction to the provision included in the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2020 to ensure that all National Guard installations are eligible for Defense Environmental Restoration Account fund to clean up PFOS and PFOA contamination.
  • Sec. 315 – Requires the DOD to notify the congressional defense committees when there has been an uncontrolled release of AFFF.
  • Sec. 339 (H.R. 6395) /Sec. 322 (S. 4049) – Increases the authorization for the CDC study of PFAS health implications from $10 million to $15 million.
  • Sec. 333 – Establishes a mechanism for public-private partnerships to facilitate development of a PFAS-free firefighting agent to replace AFFF.
  • Authorizes $150 million for the research and development of PFAS remediation and disposal technologies as well as AFFF replacement.
  • Authorizes an additional $190 million in BRAC and Environmental Restoration accounts to support acceleration of remediation activities and PFAS response.
  • Sec. 328 – Establishes a prize program to encourage development of PFAS- free firefighting foam.
  • Sec. 329 (H.R. 6395)/Sec. 313 (S. 4049) – Requires the DOD to survey and report on non-firefighting agent technologies that will help facilitate the phase-out of AFFF.
  • Sec. 330 – Establishes an interagency coordinating body for PFAS research to encourage a whole of government approach to PFAS research.

As you work to finalize the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2021 conference report, we strongly encourage you to build upon the progress made in last year’s NDAA by including important provisions adopted in the House authorization bill to safeguard servicemembers, defense communities and our environment from PFAS.

1 https://www.ewg.org/release/update-toxic-forever-chemicals-likely-contaminate-more-700-military-sites

Sincerely,

Alabama Rivers Alliance

Alaska Community Action on Toxics

Audubon Society of Rhode Island

Breast Cancer Prevention Partners

Buxmont Coalition for Safer Water

California Coastkeeper Alliance

Californians Against Waste

Center for Environmental Health

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