Boyle Fights for Water Safety, Climate Safety in Defense Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13) underscored his commitment to protecting the environment and health of his constituents with a series of proposed amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), on the House floor for votes this week. The NDAA establishes the Department of Defense budget for FY 2018.
“Our military can have a real impact on our environment and public health – something which we have come to know the hard way in Montgomery and Bucks County,” said Congressman Boyle. “That’s why I’ve proposed a number of amendments that would set a precedent for environmental protection moving forward and address the military’s PFC drinking water contamination in my district in a way that ensures this will not happen again, anywhere.”
The first of the three amendments would require the Secretary of Defense to work alongside the Environmental Protection Agency to establish strict nationwide regulations for perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Currently, only a voluntary EPA lifetime health advisory exists for these “contaminants of emerging concern.” The amendment is modelled off H.R. 3106, legislation Congressman Boyle recently reintroduced to mandate these stricter regulations. The bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Congressmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
These contaminants are threatening the drinking water of communities surrounding Defense properties nationwide due to the use of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), a firefighting substance. One such impacted property is Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove in Horsham. Boyle and neighboring Republican Congressmen Patrick Meehan and Brian Fitzpatrick have been fighting for federal oversight, resources, and accountability since learning of the issue and the surrounding communities’ concerns last year.
The second of Boyle’s proposed amendments would require that the Department of Defense report to Congress on its progress toward replacing AFFF firefighting foam with a safer, effective alternative that does not contain PFOA or PFOS.
The third environmental protection amendment that Boyle will fight to add to the NDAA would formally state that reducing the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels is in the best interest of national security and the effectiveness of the Department of Defense. “We need to focus our priorities and come together to recognize the challenges and the possibilities ahead,” said Boyle in regards to the amendment. “Robust environmental protection and a sustainable energy policy are vital for a strong and prosperous America in the years to come.”