Carper Joins Senate Colleagues to Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Hold Federal Agencies Accountable for Addressing PFAS Contamination at Military Bases Across the Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H,) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced bipartisan legislation to hold federal agencies accountable for addressing contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at military bases across the country. The PFAS Accountability Act (S. 3381) sets clear deadlines and reporting requirements for cleaning up PFAS contamination at all federal facilities across the country, including active and decommissioned military bases, and mandates greater transparency.

The reports of PFAS-contaminated water and soil in communities where our country’s military bases are located is devastating – we can and must do better than this,” said Senator Carper. “It’s why I’m calling for better coordination between federal agencies and states to ensure that people have access to clean water.”

The last thing that Michigan families who were exposed to PFAS-contaminated water and soil need is finger pointing from our federal agencies,” said Senator Stabenow. “Our legislation will bring quicker relief for some families by holding the Department of Defense and all federal agencies more accountable.”

“With the new information we are learning about these chemicals, federal agencies who may have inadvertently contributed to contamination issues should be partners in working to limit neighboring communities’ potential exposure to PFAS compounds,” Senator Rubio said. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the PFAS Accountability Act to ensure that federal agencies have the ability to constructively engage with states to protect our drinking water, soils, and wetlands.”

“Families across Michigan are being exposed to PFAS-contaminated water and soil, and the federal agencies that caused the problem should be working aggressively to fix it,” said Senator Peters. “Communities affected by this contamination need government accountability now more than ever, and this legislation urges the Department of Defense and other agencies to take responsibility for cleanup.”

“Clean drinking water is a must for every Washingtonian, and for families throughout our country,” Senator Cantwell said. “This legislation will ensure we continue to clean up groundwater in communities affected by these chemicals.”

“Our families need and deserve clean, safe drinking water,” Senator Hassan said. “By holding federal agencies accountable for addressing PFAS contamination at military bases, this bipartisan legislation is a commonsense step to ensure that the federal government is fulfilling that important duty. We have far more work to do to protect Granite Staters and Americans from contamination in their drinking water, and I’ll keep working to ensure that all of our people have the safe drinking water they need to lead healthy and productive lives.”

“Confronting the threat of PFAS contamination is a priority that crosses party lines, so I’m glad to further those efforts and stand with this bipartisan group of Senators to push this important legislation forward,” said Senator Shaheen. “New Hampshire families across the state have been impacted by exposure to emerging contaminants, and this bill would play a pivotal role in helping to ensure accountability from responsible agencies. I’ll continue to work across the aisle to advance efforts that promote accountability and transparency at every level, and will keep fighting to deliver overdue answers to Granite Staters about the potential health effects related to PFAS-exposure.”

Earlier this year, the Senators secured funding to investigate and clean up contamination at active and decommissioned military bases. However, in order for much of the federal money to be used to address PFAS contamination, federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, must enter into cooperative agreements with states. 

The PFAS Accountability Act calls for federal facilities, including military installations, to expedite cooperative agreements with states to address PFAS contamination. These agreements commit the federal government to take specific actions and enable states and local communities to be reimbursed for costs incurred to address PFAS contamination.

If a cooperative agreement is not reached within a year after a state requests one, the Department of Defense must send a report to Congress explaining the reason for the delay and a projected timeline for completing the agreement.