12.06.19

Peters Presses Trump Administration to Expedite Approved PFAS Study in Western Michigan, Secures Commitment to Review Holdup from Trump Nominee at Confirmation Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) this week pressed the Trump Administration to expedite the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) review of a PFAS health study examining contaminated communities across western Michigan. During the confirmation hearing for Paul Ray, nominated to be Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Peters secured a commitment to review the holdup and urged an expedited review of the PFAS health study examining contaminated sites in communities across western Michigan – in Parchment, Cooper Township and North Kent County.

Peters previously supported the Michigan State Department of Health and Human Services’ application to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to receive a $1 million grant for the project. Once they receive approval from the Trump Administration, researchers will work to gain a better understanding of the connections between PFAS contamination and certain illnesses, and to spread awareness of the health risks PFAS poses to communities in Michigan and around the nation.

During Ray’s confirmation hearing this week, Peters – Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee – said, “A recent report suggests that OMB and OIRA are holding up the progress on a federal assessment of the human health effects of drinking water exposure to PFAS… This project is especially important for Michiganders because the townships of Parchment and Cooper, as well as North Kent County – all of them are dealing with very significant PFAS contamination and they were selected to participate in the study and the results will inform efforts to address drinking water contamination not just in Michigan but contamination all across the country. I am concerned that OMB and OIRA’s…non-transparent review has unnecessarily delayed this study…Will you commit, if confirmed, to an expedited review so that we can quickly move forward and give the urgency that the PFAS contamination crisis deserves?”

Ray said: “Senator, certainly if confirmed [to lead OIRA on an official basis], I would certainly be happy to do that.”

Click here for Peters’ full exchange with former Acting Administrator Ray:

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Peters has led numerous efforts in Congress to address PFAS contamination in Michigan and around the country, including oversight work through his role as Ranking Member of the Senate’s top oversight committee. Peters secured provisions through the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 to help address PFAS that passed the Senate in June. Included were provisions to prevent the Department of Defense (DOD) from buying firefighting foams that contain PFAS after October 1, 2022, and to encourage DOD to finalize cooperative agreements with states to address PFAS contamination originating from DOD activities. This measure is similar to bipartisan legislation that Peters introduced in May with Senator Debbie Stabenow and other colleagues.

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