The White House has threatened to veto the House version of the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act in part due to PFAS regulation provisions the chamber decided to allow for consideration on the annual defense policy bill, Stars and Stripes reported.
A White House statement issued last week listed several dozen amendments to the legislation it opposes, which included two specific PFAS regulation provisions proposed by the Democrat-led House. If the amendments opposed by the White House passed in the House NDAA, including the PFAS regulation provisions that the administration said unduly targeted the Defense Department, President Donald Trump would veto the measure, according to the White House statement.
“At potentially great cost to and significant impact on DOD’s mission, the legislation singles out DOD, only one contributor to this national issue,” the White House statement said.
Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), whose Senate-approved NDAA provision was modified into a PFAS amendment for consideration in the House legislation, called the veto threat that includes opposition to PFAS provisions “outrageous,” according to the report.
Udall called the administration’s statement that the military is only a small part of the PFAS contamination problem “flat out wrong,” charging that exposure around installations where large quantities of PFAS-based firefighting foam has been used is more concentrated.
One of the opposed provisions would phase out military use of firefighting foam with PFAS by 2025. The other would require DOD to treat contaminated water near bases that are used for agricultural purposes, according to The Hill.
More than 100 military sites across the country have known PFAS contamination in the drinking or groundwater, Udall said.
The “forever chemicals” formally named perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl are common in firefighting foam used during training on military bases across the country. They have been in news reports in recent years as the cause of contamination of nearby groundwater.
Research has found that exposure to PFAS can lead to conditions related to low infant birth weight, cancer, and impacts to the immune system in humans, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Amber Powell