In White House and at EPA, Beck Sought to Weaken PFAS Protections
Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the statement below calling on the Trump Administration to withdraw its nomination of Nancy Beck to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). While at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and in the White House, Beck held up and sought a loophole in protections against per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), chemicals that are linked to cancer and liver dysfunction, among other effects.
“Someone who obstructed protections against a class of toxic chemicals that has potentially adverse health impacts like cancer and liver damage has no business running an agency tasked with protecting consumers in Colorado and across the country,” said Bennet. “One look at Nancy Beck’s record makes it clear that confirming her to lead the CPSC would put the health and safety of the American people at risk. The president should withdraw her nomination immediately.”
Bennet is an author of the PFAS Action Plan of 2019 and has long worked to address the health effects, cleanup, and reimbursement issues associated with PFAS, chemicals used in products such as nonstick cookware and firefighting foams. Firefighting foams have contaminated drinking water sources near military bases across the country, including at Peterson Air Force Base (AFB) in Colorado Springs. PFAS contamination has also been identified in numerous additional drinking water sources elsewhere in Colorado.
- Bennet and his colleagues introduced the PFAS Action Plan of 2019, legislation that would mandate the EPA, within one year of enactment, declare PFAS as hazardous substances eligible for cleanup funds under the EPA Superfund law, and enable a requirement that polluters undertake or pay for remediation.
- Bennet introduced an amendment to the NDAA to authorize the U.S. Air Force to reimburse local water districts, like those around Peterson AFB, for actions they took to treat and mitigate PFAS contamination.
- Following Bennet’s 2018 letter calling on the CDC to include Colorado communities near Peterson AFB in the nationwide study on the health effects of PFAS, Bennet praised the agency’s decision to include these communities.
- Bennet wrote to the CDC to ask that the nationwide study include communities in Colorado near Peterson AFB.
- Bennet visited communities around Peterson AFB to receive an update on remediation efforts. There, Bennet also received an update on the challenges water districts are having receiving reimbursement for steps they took to clean up drinking water.
- Bennet demanded the Trump Administration (CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)) release the results of a study regarding what levels of certain chemicals are safe in drinking water. According to news reports at the time, the EPA had been working to block the release of results from a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) study on the toxicity of certain PFAS.
- Bennet passed an amendment to provide funding for the Department of Defense to reimburse state and municipal water authorities for actions they took to clean up and mitigate PFAS in drinking water. The amendment was included in the Department of Defense-Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations bill, which passed the Senate in 2018. The provision was not included in the final version of the bill that was signed into law.
- Bennet wrote to the CDC/ATSDR to voice disappointment that the CDC will not include military and civilian firefighters in its investigations of the human health effects of PFAS contamination pursuant to Section 316 of the FY19 NDAA.
- Bennet pushed for a nationwide study on the health effects of PFAS and for additional funding for remediation and clean up.
- Bennet secured $10 million for the nationwide Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study in the 2018 omnibus package.
- Bennet secured an additional $44 million in funding for Air Force environmental restoration and remediation in the 2018 omnibus package. A significant amount of that funding was used for remediation around Peterson AFB in Colorado.
- Bennet supported a provision in the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that required a plan on how the Department of Defense might reimburse state or municipal agencies that expended funds to provide alternative water supplies.