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Congressman Brendan Boyle Calls For Congressional Investigation Into Groundwater Contamination

June 6, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC– Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA-13) today called for a formal congressional hearing to investigate threats related to groundwater contamination surrounding over 600 Department of Defense installations nationwide, including the vicinity around Horsham Air Guard Station in the 13th Congressional District which Congressman Boyle represents.

Congressman Boyle is requesting a hearing to compel testimony from experts on perfluorinated compounds (PFOS & PFOA) as well as testimony from officials at the Dept. of Navy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Congressman Boyle made this request in a letter delivered Monday to the chair and ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, of which he is a member.
“Concern among Horsham’s residents has significantly increased since the EPA tightened its health advisory guideline for these contaminants in our drinking water.  A growing body of studies links these contaminants to various forms of cancer, thyroid disease and other health complications,” said Congressman Boyle.  “While I appreciate the EPA’s heightened scrutiny of these contaminants and the Navy’s commitment to monitoring wells and taking implicated wells offline,  I believe officials have thus far failed to present adequate information to the public regarding the latest science and known health risks posed to our community. That is why I am calling for a congressional hearing.”

Congressman Boyle added, “The Department of Defense (DOD) has an annual budget of approximately 2.5 billion taxpayer dollars to remediate health and environmental threats such as those posed by PFOS and PFOA contamination for which it is responsible, in my district and nationwide.  Since releasing its list of 664 sites where fire-fighting foams containing PFCs might have been deployed, the DOD has elected to use its environmental investigation and remediation budget to assess groundwater samples from affected sites and to begin voluntary remediation of these installations.  However, despite the serious health risks posed by prolonged exposure to and accumulation of PFOS and PFOA in potable water sources on these sites, the response has lacked the urgency I believe is necessary to address this public health threat. These investigation and clean-up efforts are seriously undermined by a lack of urgency on the part of the DOD.”

In March of this year, Congressman Boyle sent a joint letter to the Navy demanding answers about the government’s knowledge of the water issues surrounding the former Naval Air Station Willow Grove and the Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster.  In April of this year, Congressman Boyle and Congressman Patrick Meehan (PA-07)  jointly demanded that the EPA release stricter lifetime health advisory standards for specific perfluorinated compounds (PFOS & PFOA), which it ultimately did in May of 2016.