U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Pressing for Answers on Reports of Efforts to Weaken Contamination Standards for PFAS
Letter Comes in Response to Media Reports that DOD is Pushing for Weaker Cleanup Guidelines for PFAS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined her colleagues in pressing Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, requesting the agencies to release communications they’ve had with the White House, and with each other, regarding the establishment of federal drinking water standards for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and groundwater pollution guidelines related to these chemicals.
The letter, led by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), comes in response torecent media reports that the Department Of Defense (DOD) is requesting the White House to adopt substantially weaker guidelines for groundwater pollution caused by PFAS than those suggested by the EPA.
Senator Baldwin has been taking action to establish enforceable drinking water standards and ensure Wisconsin has clean drinking water.
The Senators wrote,“If this reporting is accurate, the DOD’s actions may endanger the health of servicemembers and families who live and work near the 401 military installations where there are known or suspected releases of PFAS chemicals in the drinking water or groundwater. We urge you to act in the best interests of impacted communities and support efforts to develop groundwater and drinking water standards that will protect the public from the health hazards associated with PFAS contamination.”
The Senators go on to highlight the EPA’s recently released PFAS management plan, which commits the agency to developing interim groundwater cleanup recommendations that will assist state and federal agencies in protecting drinking water supplies contaminated by perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), two PFAS chemicals contained in formulations of AFFF. This commitment is contradicted by media reports that suggest the DOD opposes groundwater cleanup guidelines recommended by the EPA, and instead suggest that remedial action for PFOA and PFOS not occur unless the concentration levels of these chemicals exceed 400 parts per trillion or higher – nearly six times higher than the EPA’s lifetime health advisory for these chemicals.
The Senators underscore the significant risk to impacted communities posed by these extreme contamination levels and the limited number of sites eligible for cleanup and remediation. They close their letter by requesting that the DOD and EPA provide communication between the agencies and White House on efforts to set enforceable drinking water standards and groundwater cleanup recommendations for PFAS chemicals, and that they provide a joint briefing to their offices on interagency efforts on this issue.
Their letter is available here. It was also signed by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Bob Casey (D-PA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Gary Peters (D-MI).
An online version of this release is available here.
- DNR Continues PFAS Drinking Water Well Sampling In Town Of Peshtigo - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Mar 5th, 2021
- Evers Budget Addresses ‘Forever Chemicals’ - Isiah Holmes - Feb 23rd, 2021
- DNR Launches PFAS External Advisory Group - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Feb 19th, 2021
- Evers Budget Has Green Goals - Danielle Kaeding - Feb 18th, 2021
- Evers Seeks Private Firm’s Aid on Pollution - Danielle Kaeding - Jan 24th, 2021
- Gov. Evers Announces State to Take Legal Action Against PFAS Contaminators - Gov. Tony Evers - Jan 22nd, 2021
- DNR Releases Latest Sampling Results Revealing Broader PFAS Presence In Madison Area Lakes And Yahara River Chain - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Jan 21st, 2021
- New Smelt Consumption Advisory for Lake Superior - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Jan 15th, 2021
- Johnson Controls Settling PFAS Lawsuit for $17.5 Million - Erik Gunn - Jan 8th, 2021
- Fixed Earth Innovations wins Tech Challenge fall 2020 open innovation contest - The Water Council - Jan 5th, 2021
Read more about PFAS Problem here
Mentioned in This Press Release
Recent Press Releases by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Bipartisan legislation will increase icebreaking capacity in the Great Lakes region