Both include provisions on firefighting foams and blood tests.
The National Defense Authorization Act is annual must-pass legislation that funds activities of the Department of Defense.
In recent years the NDAA has also served as a vehicle for advancing provisions related to contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) around military sites. This year’s NDAA is proving to be no different with the House of Representatives and Senate each pursuing different avenues to address contamination.
The House NDAA, which cleared the House Armed Services Committee on June 13, would require routine blood tests for firefighters and would require the DoD to use firefighting foams that do not contain PFAS chemicals.
The Senate Armed Services Committee passed NDAA legislation in May, which also contained language limiting the military’s ability to use PFAS-containing foams within a three-year timeline, as well as language to require firefighters have routine blood tests.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee continued the effort to address PFAS contamination by passing an amendment out of committee that is expected to be added to the NDAA bill. The bipartisan measure, sponsored by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Tom Carper (D-Delaware), and John Barasso (R-Wyoming), is among the most aggressive action taken by Congress to address contamination and includes:
- The NGWA-endorsed Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act
- A deadline for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set a drinking water standard
- Adding PFAS chemicals to EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory
- Requiring drinking water utilities to test for PFAS.
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), chair of the Armed Services Committee, indicated he is interested in including the provision in the NDAA. The provision would also have to go through the House before becoming law.