Provisions Secured by Peters Phase Out Department of Defense’s Use of Firefighting Foams Containing PFAS; Increase Coordination Between Pentagon and States; Improve Understanding of PFAS Through Advanced Computer Modeling
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced that the final national defense bill agreed to by negotiators from the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives includes provisions he authored and cosponsored to address PFAS contamination in Michigan and across the country. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets policy for the Department of Defense, has been enacted into law for more than 55 consecutive years. Now that a final bill is negotiated, the Senate and House will vote on it before it goes to the President to be signed into law. This year’s NDAA includes a number of provisions, including a 3.1 percent pay raise for servicemembers, an end to the Widow’s Tax — which will increase survivor’s benefits for families of deceased servicemembers — and bipartisan legislation Peters cosponsored to crack down on international manufacturers and traffickers of fentanyl.
“PFAS contamination is impacting Michigan communities, families and our military. I am pleased that the final national defense bill includes provisions that I authored to take steps to address exposure and help communities struggling with PFAS,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Although there are important provisions to confront the PFAS crisis in this bill, I’m disappointed several measures were not included. More must be done, and I will continue to push the Trump Administration to help clean up sites that have been contaminated and establish drinking water standards. I will also look for other opportunities in the Senate to move these actions forward.”
A number of provisions that Peters led or supported are in the final bill including:
As Ranking Member of the Senate’s top oversight committee, Peters has led Congressional efforts to address PFAS contamination in Michigan and across the country. Most recently, Peters’ bipartisan bill to help protect the health and safety of firefighters and emergency responders frequently exposed to PFAS advanced in the Senate. In April, Peters requested information from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) about ongoing federal efforts to address PFAS contamination as well as an evaluation of the financial cost of cleaning up contaminated sites around the country. Peters also introduced bipartisan legislation requiring the EPA to declare PFAS as hazardous substances eligible for cleanup funds under the EPA Superfund law.
Prior to that, Peters convened the first ever Senate hearing on PFAS to assess the federal role in contamination and clean-up, and additionally convened a field summit in Grand Rapids. Last year, Peters authored a provision that is now law to allow airports to transition away from using firefighting foams that contain PFAS. He also secured a provision that was enacted to encourage the Department of Defense to develop PFAS-free firefighting foams.