U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper, in response to news that he established a Task Force to address PFAS contamination, inviting Secretary Esper to visit Michigan to see and hear directly from people affected by PFAS. Click here to read the letter.
In her letter, Slotkin highlights the impact of PFAS contamination on constituent communities in Michigan and shares examples from her recent visit to Strawberry Lake, part of the Huron Chain of Lakes where foam resulting from PFAS contamination is visible, and Pinckney, where they have been under a “do not eat fish” advisory for nearly a year, and a “do not touch foam” advisory for the past few months.
Slotkin commends Secretary Esper for establishing a PFAS Task Force as a first step in the Department of Defense taking action to address PFAS contamination around military installations and surrounding communities, and invites Esper and members of the Task Force to visit Michigan to hear from PFAS contamination victims first hand.
“As a Michigander and former Pentagon official, I know what an important role the Department of Defense has to play in PFAS contamination and clean-up in our state, and how hard it has been for the Department of Defense to accept responsibility for environmental clean up, given the use of aqueous film-forming firefighting foam across the country,” Slotkin said in the letter. “But we must address these issues, as environmental security is in fact homeland security, and it is clear that PFAS is a threat to our safety. When residents of the Great Lakes state, home to the greatest concentration of fresh water in the world, cannot hand our kids a glass of water with confidence that it is safe to drink, that is a threat to our way of life.”
Slotkin has made mitigating PFAS contamination a priority, particularly as it relates to the Defense Department’s role in that contamination. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Slotkin helped secure provisions in the base text of the NDAA that hold the Department of Defense accountable for PFAS contamination cleanup originating from AFFF, or PFAS-laden firefighting foam found in and around active and former military bases. Michigan has the highest number of known PFAS-contaminated sites in the country.