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Shaheen Introduces Legislation to Increase Community Engagement and Transparency Regarding Department of Defense PFAS-Related Activities

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, introduced the PFAS Community Engagement and Transparency Act, which would increase the Department of Defense (DOD)’s transparency regarding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) related activities.

“As PFAS exposure continues to threaten the health of communities in New Hampshire and across the nation, it’s important the Department of Defense remains transparent regarding ongoing testing and remediation efforts,” said Senator Shaheen. “Requiring DoD to report ongoing testing and remediation efforts and increase community engagement is essential as we continue working to mitigate the effects of PFAS contamination. My bill will ensure PFAS-impacted communities and families receive the answers  they need to make informed decisions about their health and safety.”

The PFAS Community Engagement and Transparency Act would:

  • Require a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report assessing ongoing PFAS testing and remediation efforts on military installations;
  • Require DOD to provide technical assistance to communities impacted by PFAS contamination and allow DOD to provide an annual grant to an affected community;
  • Establish an office for engagement with PFAS-impacted communities at DOD;
  • Direct DOD to provide a recurring report on PFAS-related testing and remediation efforts, including timelines for completion and cost; and
  • Require DOD to submit a separate budget documenting activities related to PFAS.

Full bill text is available here.

Senator Shaheen leads efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination, respond to the chemical exposure and remediate polluted sites. In the fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee and signed into law, Senator Shaheen included numerous PFAS provisions, including the authorization of an additional $20 million to continue the PFAS health impact study that she created in the 2018 NDAA. Because of her efforts, Pease is serving as a model site for the nationwide study. In addition, Senator Shaheen added an amendment that would prohibit the DoD from purchasing PFAS laden firefighting turnout gear after Oct. 1, 2026. This follows Shaheen-led efforts to expand blood testing and treatment for firefighters exposed to PFAS and a similar amendment she secured to ban the use of PFAS-laden firefighting foam in the FY 2020 NDAA. In December 2022, legislation Shaheen cosponsored – the Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances (PFAS) Act – was signed into law, which directs federal agencies to develop best practices, training and educational programs to reduce, limit and prevent PFAS exposure. Recently, Shaheen helped advance the FY 2024 NDAA out of committee, which includes language to expand Shaheen’s historic PFAS health impact study and confront the full scope of challenges posed by these chemicals.