Shaheen Announces New Policy On PFAS Clean-Up Transparency at Pease

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U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH

PORTSMOUTH – On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced the signing of a new Department of Defense (DOD) policy to increase the transparency of PFAS clean-up efforts at the former Pease Air Force Base as well as other sites around the country.

This announcement follows Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall’s August 25th visit to Pease Air National Guard Base. During the visit, Shaheen hosted the Secretary and Testing for Pease Co-Founder, Andrea Amico, who shared with the Secretary the efforts she has spearheaded on PFAS advocacy.

“Communities who’ve been impacted by PFAS contamination deserve full transparency from the Defense Department on the clean-up process, while having the peace of mind that their personal information is secure,” said Senator Shaheen. “I advocated for DOD to implement this policy so residents can be better informed and engaged about PFAS clean-up efforts in their area and state regulators can work directly with community members that have been affected by PFAS contaminants.”

“Lack of data sharing by the Air Force has limited the Pease community’s ability to fully understand the extent of the PFAS contamination in our community and meaningfully engage in the clean up process. I am grateful for Senator Shaheen’s persistence and leadership on addressing this issue and working with the Department of Defense to come to a resolution that will allow for better transparency and community engagement moving forward,” said Andrea Amico, Co-Founder of Testing for Pease.

The new policy was signed by Mr. Brendan Owens, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment, and clarifies the procedural steps and standards the DOD must adhere to when handling the personal information of residents and property owners whose private drinking water wells are tested for PFAS contamination. Additionally, it includes guidance on providing non-drinking water cleanup data sampling results to regulators.

Senator Shaheen has been instrumental in leading efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination. During an April 2023 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Shaheen questioned Mr. Owens on finding a solution to DOD’s data privacy policy related to PFAS remediation and cleanup that provides transparency to residents and state regulators. In the fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was signed into law, Senator Shaheen included numerous PFAS provisions, including the authorization of an additional $20 million to continue the PFAS health impact study that she created in the FY 2018 NDAA. Because of her efforts, Pease is serving as a model site for the nationwide study. In addition, Senator Shaheen added an amendment that would prohibit the DOD from purchasing PFAS-laden firefighting turnout gear after October 1, 2026. This follows Shaheen-led efforts to expand blood testing and treatment for firefighters exposed to PFAS and a similar amendment she secured to ban the use of PFAS-laden firefighting foam in the FY 2020 NDAA. Recently, Shaheen helped secure Senate passage of the FY 2024 NDAA, which includes language to expand Shaheen’s historic PFAS health impact study and confront the full scope of challenges posed by these chemicals.

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