April 14, 2021

Shaheen, Hassan, Colleagues Push to Allow States to Address PFAS Contamination through American Rescue Plan Funds

**In their bipartisan letter, the group of Senators call on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to allow state, tribal, and local governments to use funds allocated through the American Rescue Plan to address contamination from PFAS chemicals**

 

**The letter echoes Shaheen’s call in a recent op-ed she authored with members of Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water calling on the Biden administration to prioritize policies that help address PFAS contamination in impacted communities**

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) and a bipartisan group of Senators in a letter urging Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to allow state, tribal, and local governments to use funds allocated through the American Rescue Plan to address contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including in local water supplies. In their letter, the Senators highlight the potentially dangerous effects of PFAS contamination on human health and the environment.

 

“Contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has emerged as a serious issue for state, tribal, and local governments, impacting public and private drinking water and contaminating farmland,” wrote the Senators. “Around the country, there is a critical need for resources to better determine, assess, and mitigate PFAS contamination, as well as support those with contaminated lands and/or water. As the Department of Treasury (Treasury) establishes rules and guidance for allocating American Rescue Plan (ARP) state, tribal, and local fiscal recovery funds, we request that those funds allocated for making ‘necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure’ be eligible for state, tribal, and local governments to use in their PFAS remediation plans.”

 

“PFAS has been found in public drinking water systems and residential wells throughout the United States,” continued the Senators. “Addressing this contamination requires significant investment and proactive efforts to remediate. Ensuring states, tribes and local governments have flexibility to use ARP infrastructure funds to support their PFAS work will help combat this pervasive and ongoing public health threat that impacts so many Americans.”

 

In addition to Senators Shaheen, Hassan and King, today’s letter was signed by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Gary Peters (D-MI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tom Carper (D-DE) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).  

 

The full letter can be downloaded HERE.

 

Senators Shaheen and Hassan have spearheaded efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination, respond to the chemical exposure and remediate polluted sites. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees, Shaheen has fought to secure – which Hassan supported – consistent federal support for the PFAS health impact study that she established four years ago. Because of their efforts, Pease is serving as a model site for the nationwide study. The study at Pease is actively seeking participants. Shaheen added numerous provisions to the fiscal year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which Hassan supported, that recently became law, including a provision based on standalone legislation introduced by Senator Shaheen and cosponsored by Senator Hassan to authorize a comprehensive study of the personal protective equipment worn by firefighters to determine the identity and concentration of PFAS, as well as firefighters’ risk of exposure to these harmful chemicals from the gear. The FY21 NDAA also establishes a federal grant program and authorizes $2.5 million to advance the development of safe alternatives to PFAS chemicals in personal protective equipment. Shaheen and Hassan also boosted funding for the health impact study for the year to $15 million.

 

###