Shaheen, Hassan Introduce Legislation with Bipartisan Group of Senators to Hold Federal Agencies Accountable for Addressing PFAS Contamination at Military Bases Across the Country

August 27, 2018

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce legislation to hold federal agencies accountable for addressing contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at military bases across the country. The PFAS Accountability Act sets clear deadlines and reporting requirements for cleaning up PFAS contamination at all federal facilities across the country, including active and decommissioned military bases, and mandates greater transparency.

“Confronting the threat of PFAS contamination is a priority that crosses party lines, so I’m glad to further those efforts and stand with this bipartisan group of Senators to push this important legislation forward,” said Senator Shaheen. “New Hampshire families across the state have been impacted by exposure to emerging contaminants, and this bill would play a pivotal role in helping to ensure accountability from responsible agencies. I’ll continue to work across the aisle to advance efforts that promote accountability and transparency at every level, and will keep fighting to deliver overdue answers to Granite Staters about the potential health effects related to PFAS-exposure.” 

“Our families need and deserve clean, safe drinking water,” said Senator Hassan. “By holding federal agencies accountable for addressing PFAS contamination at military bases, this bipartisan legislation is a commonsense step to ensure that the federal government is fulfilling that important duty. We have far more work to do to protect Granite Staters and Americans from contamination in their drinking water, and I’ll keep working to ensure that all of our people have the safe drinking water they need to lead healthy and productive lives.” 

The PFAS Accountability Act calls for federal facilities, including military installations, to expedite cooperative agreements with states to address PFAS contamination. These agreements commit the federal government to take specific actions and enable states and local communities to be reimbursed for costs incurred to address PFAS contamination. If a cooperative agreement is not reached within a year after a state requests one, the Department of Defense must send a report to Congress explaining the reason for the delay and a projected timeline for completing the agreement.

Senators Shaheen and Hassan have prioritized efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects of emerging contaminants in water supplies. Senator Shaheen successfully established the first-ever nationwide health study on the impacts of PFAS substances in drinking water in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, and secured the study’s funding in the fiscal year 2018 government spending bill that was signed into law in March. In the annual defense bill that was signed into law earlier this month, Shaheen successfully authorized $10 million for the second year of the study, and last week, secured that funding in appropriations legislation that passed the Senate. Because of Shaheen and Hassan’s efforts, the Pease International Tradeport will serve as the model site for the nationwide PFAS health study. 

In addition, Shaheen recently introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) that would create a national database for service members and veterans experiencing health problems potentially due to PFAS exposure. The bill would allow military personnel and veterans to receive updates on recent scientific developments on the effects of PFAS exposure and information on what resources may be available to address their health concerns.