Historic PFAS Investments Proposed in House Spending Bills

Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, July 23, 2020

WASHINGTON – Three spending bills proposed by the House will make historic investments to address the regulation and cleanup of the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS.

Spending bills for the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency will significantly increasing PFAS cleanup funding by the Pentagon, direct the EPA to accelerate efforts to restrict industrial discharges of PFAS, and also direct the EPA to complete efforts to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances.

“House leaders will once again make the PFAS contamination crisis a priority,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at EWG. “This is a small but important down payment on what’s needed to reduce and remediate PFAS pollution. We applaud House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, as well as subcommittee chairs Pete Visclosky, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Betty McCollum for addressing the ballooning PFAS contamination crisis.”

Earlier this week, the House passed a National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021 that included more than a dozen PFAS reforms.

Here is a summary of the major PFAS-related provisions in the FY 2021 appropriations bills:

FY 2021 Defense Appropriations Bill

  • More than $100 million in additional dedicated funding to clean up PFAS contamination at active military installations, expand studies of defense communities affected by PFAS, and phase out PFAS-based firefighting foams.
  • More than $50 million in research and development funding for PFAS remediation and disposal.
  • Reports on Defense Department efforts to test the blood of military firefighters and the costs of cleanup at active military installations.

FY 2021 Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill

  • $200 million to increase the pace of PFAS cleanup at closed military installations.
  • Progress report on PFAS cleanup at closed military installations.
  • Collaboration between the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs to monitor the health effects from PFAS.

FY 20021 Interior/Environment Appropriations Bill

  • $2.5 million to support regulatory work needed to designate PFAS chemicals as “hazardous substances” under the Superfund law.
  • $2.4 million for the development of standards to limit industrial discharges of PFAS to surface waters and wastewater treatment plants.
  • $1.5 million to set a national drinking water standard for PFAS in drinking water.
  • $1.4 million for reporting of PFAS releases into the air and water under the Toxic Release Inventory.
  • Additional funding to support the EPA’s PFAS research and the U.S. Geological Survey’s efforts to monitor waterways for PFAS.

Among the amendments to the EPA spending bill the House is expected to approve are:

  • An amendment to prohibit the Trump administration from withdrawing two proposed regulatory actions to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under Superfund and set a national drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS, filed by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Anne Kuster (D-N.H.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.), Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and Harley Rouda (D-Calif.).
  • An amendment to provide an additional $2 million to study the relationship between PFAS exposure and susceptibility to COVID-19 by Reps. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), Dingell and Pappas.
  • An amendment filed by Reps. Hudson and Dingell to ensure that the EPA develops standards to limit industrial discharges of the PFAS chemical GenX into waterways.

According to the most recent analysis by EWG, 2,230 locations in 49 states are known to have PFAS contamination, including more than 300 military installations.

###

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

Key Issues: