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Senator Hassan Presses Defense Department Officials on Deficiencies in Addressing PFAS Contamination at Military Bases, Including Pease

NH’s Andrea Amico Testified at Hearing, Senator Hassan Introduced Her and Spoke with Her About What Actions Local Communities Need from the Defense Department

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today pressed Department of Defense (DoD) officials on an independent government watchdog report that revealed deficiencies in how DoD responds to and mitigates PFAS contamination at military bases, including the former Pease Air Force Base, during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing. Senator Hassan also brought New Hampshire’s Andrea Amico as a witness – the Senator introduced her and asked her questions during the second part of the hearing.

 

Watch Senator Hassan’s questioning and introduction of Mrs. Amico here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTgU0oNNpK8&feature=youtu.be

 

Pushing Defense Department Officials for Action

 

Senator Hassan started her questioning to Defense Department officials stating, “It’s vital that communities have confidence that when the Defense Department identifies emerging contaminants, that the Department reacts quickly to protect the health of those in exposed communities. One of the concerning findings in the Inspector General report is that the Defense Department’s Emerging Contaminants Program put two PFAS chemicals on a watch list in 2011, but no additional action was taken at that time. Mr. Kidd, what changes would you make to ensure that this type of needless and harmful delay doesn’t occur again? ”

 

In response, Richard G. Kidd, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy Resilience at DoD, said, “We’re going to strengthen the muscle movement in the department in terms of looking at the chemicals, getting the reports, and bringing it to [the Emerging Chemicals of Concern Government Council] for a decision.”

 

Senator Hassan also secured a commitment from DoD to “revise its instructions and procedures, to ensure that officials develop risk management actions and proactively identify and mitigate PFAS chemicals early in the process” as quickly as possible.

 

In addition, Senator Hassan pressed DoD officials to assess PFAS contaminant effect from all potential sources and pushed for federal agencies to work proactively to alert veterans about potential PFAS exposure.

 

Introducing Andrea Amico & Urging Further DoD Support for Communities

 

For the second part of the hearing, Senator Hassan brought Portsmouth resident Andrea Amico, founder of Testing for Pease, as one of the hearing’s witnesses to further underscore the need to address PFAS contamination. Amico previously testified before Senator Hassan and colleagues at the first-ever Senate hearing on PFAS in 2018.

 

“Mrs. Amico was rightfully concerned when media reports began to surface that an emergent contaminant called PFAS had gotten into the water that her children drank at their day care center. Fearing for their health, and the health of her neighbors, Mrs. Amico began her critical advocacy,” said Senator Hassan during her introduction. “In New Hampshire, we bring an all-hands-on-deck spirit to solving our problems, and Mrs. Amico brings that to her work every day, rolling up her sleeves and bringing her community together to address PFAS contamination.”

 

Senator Hassan asked Mrs. Amico to share her recommendations about how DoD can better communicate with communities impacted by PFAS contamination. Mrs. Amico urged DoD to host routine listening sessions with local communities, improve transparency by allowing more access to exposure data, and improve relations with local Restoration Advisory Boards and Restoration Advisory Committees.

 

Senator Hassan and Mrs. Amico also discussed how some New Hampshire communities do not get alternative water sources from DoD if there is PFAS contamination levels higher than New Hampshire’s PFAS standard but lower than the Environmental Protection Agency’s threshold. “The DoD will not provide alternative water to those homes…that’s a problem because first and foremost that does not protect public health,” said Mrs. Amico.

  

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