09.25.19

VIDEO: Senate Passes Peters Resolution Calling for Final National Defense Bill to Address PFAS Crisis

Peters’ Resolution Supports Bipartisan Provisions in Senate-passed Defense Bill to Prohibit Defense Department from Using Firefighting Foams Containing PFAS

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today spoke on the Senate floor and the Senate unanimously passed his resolution calling for the final national defense bill that is sent to the President to include a provision prohibiting the Department of Defense (DoD) from using firefighting foams containing PFAS by the end of 2023. Peters’ resolution reaffirms support for previously Senate-approved bipartisan provisions requiring DoD to discontinue the purchase and use of firefighting foams that contain PFAS remain a part of the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. Peters helped craft the Senate-passed national defense bill and led or supported a number of provisions seeking to address the PFAS crisis. Peters’ resolution approved by the Senate Wednesday comes after the White House announced numerous objections to the Senate-approved defense bill, including to the bipartisan provision to phase out the use of firefighting foams with PFAS at military installations. The defense bill is currently in a conference committee as the House and Senate work out differences and negotiate a final bill.

“Let me be frank: today our water – and our health – is at risk from highly fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS,” said Senator Peters. “These chemicals have been widely used commercially, and they are also concentrated in firefighting foams used by the Department of Defense… We must protect our troops, our firefighters, our communities and our water.”

“Oscoda has waited too long for action, and it’s past time that the Department of Defense addressed this crisis,” said Tony Spaniola, Member of Need Our Water (NOW) and Oscoda property owner. “These provisions need to be included in the final bill, and I thank Senator Peters for his efforts.”

The provisions in the Senate-approved national defense bill prevents DoD from buying firefighting foam that contains PFAS after October 1, 2022. This builds on Peters’ work in last year’s annual defense bill that is now law, which urged DoD to develop fluorine-free firefighting foams.

190925_PFASFloorSpeech

Click here for video of his remarks and below is the text as prepared for delivery.

“Mr. President, let me be frank: today our water – and our health – is at risk from highly fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS. These chemicals have been widely used commercially, and they are also concentrated in firefighting foams used by the Department of Defense.

“They are toxic – and have been linked to serious health issues to those exposed to them. High levels of PFAS contamination exist at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, Michigan – and at military sites all across our country.

 “My resolution would retain the Senate language prohibiting the Department of Defense from using firefighting foams containing PFAS chemicals by the end of 2023. PFAS-free foams are already widely used internationally both by military services and at major hub airports such as Heathrow and Dubai. 

 We must protect our troops, our firefighters, our communities and our water, and I urge my colleagues to support my Resolution.”

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