The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) recently passed the annual spending bill for the Department of Defense, which included a number of new requirements to reduce PFAS use and remediate existing sites. Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) are a collection of over 7,000 manmade chemical compounds. PFAS’ persistence in the environment and suspected impacts on human health has led to rapidly developing regulations on the federal and state level. So far, regulators are focused on notifying consumers of PFAS in products and establishing drinking water standards, among others.
It is no secret that the United States military has historically used PFAS in numerous applications. The HASC expanded on previous attempts to tackle PFAS pollution by providing funding to support PFAS cleanup and remediation, replacement of PFAS-containing firefighting foam, and development of safer disposal techniques. Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee (“SASC”) PFAS bill focuses on increased funding to support a national assessment of human health connected to PFAS contamination in drinking water. The SASC would require the Department of Defense to phase out PFAS-containing fire fighting foam once alternatives are identified.
This is a huge step for the Department of Defense in its efforts to study the impacts of PFAS. With so much still unknown regarding the suspected health impacts from PFAS exposure, the extent of PFAS’ persistence in the environment, and the routes of exposure to PFAS, additional testing and studies such as those described above will be an essential next step in developing laws that adequately regulate PFAS.
This bill came at the same time that the House passed what has been coined the “Holy Grail” of conservation bills. With a 310-107 vote, the House passed H.R. 1957(116), the Great American Outdoors Act. The bill would require yearly $900 million funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund as well as provide billions of dollars to fixing the public and park lands in the United States. The bill also includes specific language to prevent the administration from denying grant applications for use of the words “global warming” or “climate change.” This is a landmark bill that could have enormous implications nationwide.
CMBG3 Law is following judicial, legislative, administrative, and scientific developments relating to PFAS. More information about the services we can provide, including risk assessments, to ensure your business is ready for any intersection with these substances can be found on our PFAS Litigation page.
Our attorneys have been at the forefront of PFAS issues, including giving presentations as to the future waves of litigation stemming from PFAS issues. For more information, please contact any of our PFAS – Toxic Torts Team: Jessica Deyoe, Suzanne Englot, Alexandra Fraher,or John Gardella.