U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) advocated for and secured critical measures in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the major annual bill authorizing national defense spending, to stem the flow of PFAS contamination and hold the Department of Defense (DoD) accountable for future cleanup. In particular, Slotkin has secured provisions in the NDAA base text that require the DoD to phase out its use of PFAS-laden firefighting foam, authorizes funding for clean-up specific to PFAS contamination, and requires the DoD to come up with best practices to inform future clean-up.
Slotkin, a former senior Pentagon official, has advocated strongly for PFAS remediation measures to be included in the NDAA to protect Michigan communities. Michigan has the highest number of PFAS-contaminated sites of any state in the country, in large part due to the use of PFAS-laden fire-fighting foam on military bases. Slotkin serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the committee responsible for the passing the NDAA.
“I believe that Michigan soon will face the existential crisis of deciding whether clean water out of your tap is a right or a privilege, and I believe it is a right,” Slotkin said. “As PFAS contamination — particularly in and around our military bases — threatens the safety of more and more families in communities across our state, I’m glad to see the NDAA include the provisions I have been fighting for to begin to meet the threat of PFAS contamination with the urgency it requires.”
“Given widespread bipartisan support for mitigating and preventing PFAS contamination, and the overall bipartisan approach of our committee, I’m hopeful that these provisions will be passed into law and begin providing real relief to our communities,” Slotkin added.
The House Armed Services Committee will hold a full committee markup all day Wednesday, where Slotkin will offer amendments to support PFAS remediation and prevent future contamination in Michigan (watch here).
Specifically, Slotkin secured the following NDAA measures to:
- Prevent further PFAS contamination:
Requires the DoD to stop using PFAS-laden firefighting foam (AFFF) by 2029. The NDAA also requires the DoD to report back to the House Armed Services Committee by 2025 with the requirements for transitioning away from AFFF.
Prohibits the uncontrolled release of AFFF in non-emergency situations. The NDAA prohibits the continued use of AFFF in exercises unless it is contained and proper disposal mechanisms are in place to ensure no further AFFF is released into the environment.
Hold the DoD accountable for PFAS remediation:
Requires the DoD to report on best practices for clean-up and disposal of PFAS-contaminated groundwater, soils, and filters, and gaps that require further study. This will enable the House Armed Services Committee to identify areas where it can support further research and action.
Provides the National Guard access to additional environmental remediation funds for five years, explicitly to address PFAS exposure and contamination caused by National Guard activities or installations.
Provides an additional $121.3 million in environmental restoration accounts for PFAS remediation related to contaminated drinking water on or near military installations.
Help civilians and service members affected by PFAS contamination:
Requires the DoD to provide blood testing for each DoD firefighter during their annual physical exam to determine and document potential exposure to PFAS.
Authorizes the DoD to continue funding a study of the health implications of drinking water contaminated by PFAS.
Encourages the DoD to ensure adequate training for individuals in regular contact with AFFFabout the dangers associated with exposure.