05.25.21

VIDEO: At Hearing, Peters Presses Air Force Secretary Nominee on PFAS Action, Highlights Selfridge as Host for F-35 International Training Center

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, today pressed for additional action to address PFAS contamination at military sites across the country and additionally highlighted Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan as an ideal host to a potential F-35 international training center. During a confirmation hearing for U.S. Air Force Secretary-designate Frank Kendall, Peters discussed these and other Michigan national security priorities.

“I appreciated the opportunity to discuss a number of priorities with Secretary-designate Kendall today. It’s clear that the Air Force must move quicker to address PFAS contamination at military installations and communities impacted by these toxic chemicals – including at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base near Oscoda. These chemicals are not just an environmental threat: they pose a danger to public health and can hurt local economies,” said Senator Peters. “I’m also going to continue working to support Selfridge’s bid to host an F-35 international training center. Selfridge has the facilities, training and community support needed to ensure the center would not only be a success, but strengthen our ties with our international allies.”

 

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To watch Peters’ exchange with Air Force Secretary-designate Frank Kendall, click here.

 

Peters previously met with Secretary-designate Kendall and President Biden’s nominee for Under Secretary of the Air Force, Gina Ortiz Jones.

In March 2021, in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Peters initiated a call with Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth to encourage the Department of Defense to select Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township as the new location for an F-35 training center for our international partners. Earlier in March, Peters joined Senator Stabenow in leading the Michigan delegation in outlining the benefits of selecting Selfridge for the mission in a letter to Acting Secretary Roth. The delegation also made a similar push to former Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett in a December 2020 letter. Throughout his time in Congress, Senator Peters has been a strong advocate for providing additional resources and support for Selfridge, including to be a potential host for a new F-35 mission. 

Peters has made addressing PFAS contamination in Michigan a top priority in the Senate. In April, Peters and his colleagues expressed their concerns that the Air Force’s proposed remediation plan fails to comprehensively address PFAS contamination plumes spread throughout the area. Peters also helped secure $13.5 million in funding for PFAS cleanup projects at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda. During a visit to the base in 2019 with then-Assistant Air Force Secretary Henderson, Peters held a joint public forum in which he urged the Air Force to do more to mitigate PFAS contamination in the area.

Peters previously passed a provision that was signed into law urging the Department of Defense to phase out its use of PFAS-laden firefighting foams. Peters also supported or led provisions in the 2019 national defense bill banning the Department of Defense from purchasing firefighting foams containing PFAS. The bill also immediately prohibited the use of firefighting foams containing PFAS in military training exercises, and enhanced state cooperation with the Department of Defense regarding clean-up due to PFAS contamination stemming from military-related activities.

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