Air Force Reports Diverting $66 Million for PFAS/PFOA Contamination Cleanup

Air Force Reports Diverting $66 Million for PFAS/PFOA Contamination Cleanup

The Air Force has submitted a letter to Senate Democrats acknowledging it has diverted more than $66 million from other contamination remediation projects toward PFOA/PFOS cleanup, CQ reported Thursday.

Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member, released the letter Thursday detailing that funds from fiscal 2018 and 2019 BRAC accounts were used to clean up sites contaminated by past use of PFAS-based firefighting foam, according to the report.

The letter is in response to congressional Democrats’ pressure on the Pentagon to account for whether it has adequate dedicated funding to clean up the contaminants.

Maureen Sullivan, the top DOD official leading the agency’s environmental cleanup, said in a March House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing that PFOA/PFOS contamination would cost “approximately $2 billion.”

Carper and Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) followed with a letter to acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan requesting details on its nationwide PFOA/PFOS clean-up plans, including “all diversions, or planned diversions” of funds intended for other cleanup projects. They said they had “been informed that in at least one instance, the United States Air Force has diverted funds intended for a site cleanup of non-PFAS contamination to PFAS-related cleanup efforts.”

Ellen Lord, under secretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment, replied June 5 that the “Air Force BRAC has diverted $66 million from non-PFOS/PFOA cleanup projects.”

In a news release Thursday, Carper said Congress “needs to ensure that the Department of Defense has the resources needed to fully address” its “liabilities related to the DOD-related PFAS contamination in our communities.”

Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen

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