Boyle Amendment Adds $60 Million for DOD Drinking Water Contamination Response
WASHINGTON, DC – Tonight, Congress voted 256-169 to adopt Congressman Brendan F. Boyle’s amendment to provide an additional $60 million in environmental remediation funding for the Navy and Air Force to address water contamination caused by firefighting chemicals used on military properties nationwide, including Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove and Horsham Air Guard Station. Congressman Boyle released the following statement commending the strong bipartisan vote:
“This amendment is critical next step in our effort to support the communities who have been affected by PFOS and PFOA drinking water contamination from AFFF firefighting foam. The families who have suffered as a result of this contamination, in my district and around the country, deserve better from our federal government. This funding will enable the Department of Defense to give these families greater peace of mind when it comes to the safety of their drinking water.
“I must also thank my Republican friends and neighbors, Pat Meehan and Brian Fitzpatrick, for working shoulder to shoulder with me in this fight. We’ll keep fighting on behalf of the communities who have been impacted by this pollution.”
Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), have threatened the drinking water of some 70,000 residents in Bucks and Montgomery Counties surrounding Willow Grove and Horsham Air Guard Station due to the use of AFFF on site. The Department of Defense has identified over 400 other properties of potential concern nationwide where studies are ongoing. So far, water contamination has been found near 27 military bases in 16 states, according to numbers from the Air Force, Navy, and Army. The military has also addressed contamination in on-base drinking water systems on 15 installations across the country.
In June, Congressman Boyle reintroduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3106, to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set an enforceable nationwide drinking water standard for PFCs including PFOA and PFOS. Currently, only a voluntary EPA lifetime health advisory exists for these “contaminants of emerging concern.” Earlier this month, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act with Congressman Boyle’s amendment requiring the Department of Defense to report to Congress on its
progress determining a safer, effective alternative to the polluting foam that does not contain PFOA and PFOS.