September 14, 2020

Van Hollen, Shaheen Call for Prioritizing Funding & Policy Initiatives to Combat PFAS Exposure in FY 21 Government Funding Legislation

On Friday, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who are both members of the Senate Appropriations Committee – sent a letter to the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee leadership, requesting that policies and funding to combat per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination be prioritized in upcoming government funding legislation for fiscal year (FY) 2021. 

The Senators wrote, “As you work to finalize appropriations for the Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for fiscal year (FY) 2021, we encourage you to build upon the progress that was made in last year’s appropriations bill by providing critical funding to expand PFAS monitoring, standards development and cleanup capabilities.” 

They continued, “PFAS materials have been associated with a number of adverse health effects, including birth defects, various forms of cancer and immune system dysfunction. While knowledge about the health impacts of PFAS is evolving, little is known about the long-term cumulative effects these unregulated contaminants may have on human health. To better understand the scope of the problem, it is critical that the EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have the resources necessary to fully implement the new reporting and monitoring requirements that Congress passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2020.” 

The lawmakers added that Congress must address ongoing industrial releases of PFAS into the environment since many facilities across the country have been known to discharge PFAS into the air and water through the manufacturing of products. They closed their letter by urging for the inclusion of provisions to tackle PFAS remediation, including drinking water sources and industrial sites. Their enclosed letter provided a list of legislative priorities that address PFAS research, monitoring, standards development, cleanup and more.  

Senators Van Hollen and Shaheen were joined by 19 other Senators.

The letter can be read in full here.