Shaheen Questions Air Force Secretary on Haven Well Contamination and Follow-On Health Study
**SHAHEEN: Why won’t the Air Force fund ATSDR study and “what can be done to address this which is a continuing threat to people in the Seacoast region?”June 06, 2017
(Washington DC) – Today, during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) directed questions to Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. Heather Wilson, regarding the high levels of contaminants found in drinking water around Haven Well at the Pease International Tradeport. Last week at a meeting of the Pease Community Assistance Panel, the Air Force said that it will not fund a health study on the health effects of the contaminants from Air Force firefighting foam, which was discovered in 2014. Senator Shaheen has worked closely with the Seacoast community affected by contamination and the relevant federal agencies.
During her questioning, Shaheen expressed concern and asked Secretary Wilson to explain why the Air Force will not provide funding for the Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to study the health effects from contaminants found in drinking water around Haven Hill. Shaheen asked Secretary Wilson “what can be done to address this which is a continuing threat to people in the Seacoast region?”
Secretary Wilson responded that it’s a question of whether the Air Force is the right entity and has the authority to do this study. The Secretary said the Air Force would work with Shaheen on the best way to do a human health study.
Shaheen also raised the precedent for the military funding ATSDR health studies, referencing the Navy funding for an ATSDR study at Camp Lejune. “What’s the difference between the Navy’s ability to do that and the Air Force?” Shaheen asked. Secretary Wilson noted that she had heard from Senator Shaheen’s staff on this specific question and is discussing with the Air Force’s general counsel to find out how the Navy provided that funding.
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