White House objects to PFAS provisions in defense bill
By ARPAN LOBO | The Holland Sentinel | Published: September 11, 2019
WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — The administration of President Donald Trump detailed its concerns over the Senate National Defense Authorization Act of 2019. Among them are the funding provisions for PFAS, toxic chemicals that can be found in the water supply.
The NDAA includes provisions to encourage the Department of Defense to work with states to address PFAS contamination that originate from DOD sites such as military bases. The White House classified these provisions as being "neither grounded in science nor consistent with statutory requirements that provide for important consideration of scientific and technical information," per Politico.
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) can cause health concerns like thyroid disease, kidney and testicular cancers as well as higher levels of cholesterol. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, PFAS can be found in stain- and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products, polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products and fire-fighting foams.
Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, ripped the White House's objections as partisan posturing, saying that addressing the PFAS crisis needs to be addressed immediately.
"Taking decisive action to address toxic PFAS contamination should not become a partisan issue," he said. "Michigan families are suffering every day from the very real impacts of PFAS contamination and exposure. The White House's objections to bipartisan efforts to deal with this crisis are simply wrong and an affront to Michiganders demanding action.
A report conducted by the Environmental Working Group found Michigan has 192 PFAS contamination sites, the most in the country. State leaders have tried to address the issue, with the creation of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team in 2017. In February, MPART received new guidelines to address the threat PFAS pose to Michigan's drinking water and public health.
"We cannot wait for delays or ineffective half measures to protect our water sources from toxic PFAS chemicals," Peters added.
The NDAA contains provisions to phase out firefighting foams that PFAS, which the White House also opposed.