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Peters, Ernst Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Deploy Advanced Computing in Addressing PFAS Contaminations

WASHINGTON, DC U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) today introduced bipartisan legislation to direct the Department of Defense (DOD) to develop best practices for deploying advanced computing to address the risks associated with PFAS exposure. The PFAS Quantum Evaluation Act instructs the Secretary of Defense to complete an assessment of how quantum computing can be best used to address problems associated with exposure to PFAS. According to the National Academy of Sciences, quantum simulation has significant promise when applied to solving chemistry problems such as those associated with PFAS.  

“PFAS contamination is impacting communities across Michigan and our country including at military installations. The Department of Defense should play a role in helping address this crisis,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation would encourage the Pentagon to develop advanced computing technology and put it to work trying to solve problems caused by exposure to PFAS.”

“Hundreds of military installations across our country have found PFAS chemicals in drinking water and groundwater, including the Air National Guard Base in Sioux City where it was detected in the groundwater. This is absolutely unacceptable,” said Senator Joni Ernst, chairman of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. “We need to get to the bottom of this and ensure our servicemembers, their families, and surrounding communities aren’t subjected to exposure. I’m pleased to partner with Democratic Senator Gary Peters in urging the Pentagon to act in addressing this contamination, including exploring the use of advanced computer technology to do it.”

This legislation would require the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to work with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering on conducting the assessment. Additionally, the bill directs the DOD to establish an inventory of existing and potential work on exposure to PFAS and possible partnership opportunities with academic institutions, private sector technology and chemical companies, and other government entities.

Peters has led numerous initiatives in the Senate to address PFAS. Among his recent efforts, Peters recently hosted a top Air Force official in Oscoda and pressed the Air Force to do more to cleanup PFAS contamination in areas surrounding the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. The visit came at the request of Peters who had called on the Air Force to work with the state of Michigan on clean-up efforts. In March, Peters helped lead introduction of bipartisan legislation that would mandate the EPA declare PFAS as hazardous substances eligible for cleanup funds under the EPA’s Superfund law – enabling a requirement that polluters undertake or pay for remediation.