05.09.19

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Helps Introduce Bipartisan PFAS Accountability Act

Many communities in Wisconsin are facing concerning levels of PFAS chemicals in their drinking water

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today joined her colleagues led by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to introduce the PFAS Accountability Act. This legislation would hold federal agencies accountable for addressing contamination for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at military bases across the country. It comes just days after the release of a new report showing that 19 million people in 43 states have been exposed to PFAS-contaminated water.

“Many communities in Wisconsin are facing concerning levels of PFAS chemicals in their drinking water,” said Senator Baldwin. “When the federal government is the cause of this groundwater contamination, local officials shouldn’t be responsible for cleaning up the mess. This legislation will hold federal agencies accountable and allow local officials to continue their work protecting public health and ensuring Wisconsin has clean drinking 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 families by holding the Department of Defense and all federal agencies more accountable.”

“I am proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing the bipartisan PFAS Accountability Act to ensure federal agencies have the ability to constructively engage with states to protect our drinking water, soils, and wetlands,” said Senator Rubio. “As we learn new information about PFAS chemicals, it’s critical that federal agencies who may have inadvertently contributed to contamination issues partner with our local communities to limit potential exposure to PFAS compounds.”

The PFAS Accountability Act sets clear deadlines and reporting requirements for cleaning up PFAS contamination at federal facilities across the country, including active and decommissioned military bases, and mandates greater transparency.  It calls on federal facilities, including military and National Guard 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 bill requires a federal agency such as the Department of Defense to send a report to Congress explaining the reason for the delay and a projected timeline for completing the agreement.  In addition, the bill enables the federal government to issue grants to states, local communities, and tribes to take actions to address drinking, ground and surface waters contaminated by PFAS.

Senator Baldwin has been taking action to establish enforceable drinking water standards and ensure Wisconsin has clean drinking water. In March, Baldwin pressed the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense for answers after media reports that the agencies were trying to weaken PFAS groundwater cleanup guidelines. She also helped introduce the bipartisan PFAS Detection Act which provides the U.S. Geological Survey with $45 million to develop new advanced technologies to detect PFAS and then to conduct nationwide sampling for PFAS in the environment.

U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) also cosponsored the PFAS Accountability Act.