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Pingree Presses DoD Official With Environmental Oversight For PFAS Drinking Water Standards at Military Installations

Washington, March 27, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.— In a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) questioned Assistant Secretary McMahon, who is responsible for overseeing the Department of Defense’s (DoD) environmental policies, about news reports that the Defense Department was seeking a weaker clean-up standard for PFAS toxic chemical contamination than Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations provide. PFAS chemicals have been used at military installations, including the Air Guard base in Bangor and, at some sites around the country, have been responsible for contamination of local groundwater. 

Watch the full exchange:

Pingree asked DoD Assistant Secretary McMahon, “So if you’re seeking a national standard and the current EPA is seventy parts per trillion, I hope that doesn’t mean that somehow The Administration is trying to change the EPA standard to 400 parts per trillion, or conversely, I hope we’re not thinking of having our military families have to live in an environment that has a weaker standard…When you’re dealing with the physical toxicity of individuals you have to look at the cumulative impact, particularly something like PFAS which are very common in our environment, so I would hate to think that you would adopt a different standard using a technicality.”

Pingree has co-sponsored the PFAS Action Act, to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to list all PFAS chemicals, including PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals, as hazardous substances under the Superfund clean-up program within one year.

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