Cantwell, Senators Announce Bipartisan PFAS Accountability Act

New report shows five sites in Washington with PFAS-contaminated water

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and eight other senators announced the introduction of the PFAS Accountability Act. This legislation would hold federal agencies accountable for addressing contamination for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at military bases across the country. 

The legislation comes just days after the release of a new report showing that 19 million people in 43 states have been exposed to PFAS-contaminated water. Five sites in Washington state have been identified. Click the map below or here for more details on the five sites. 

“Every family deserves access to clean drinking water,” said Senator Cantwell. “This legislation will help federal agencies accelerate the cleanup of PFAS-contaminated water and protect the public from the health hazards associated with PFAS contamination.” 

The PFAS Accountability Act sets clear deadlines and reporting requirements for cleaning up PFAS contamination at federal facilities across the country, including active and decommissioned military bases, and mandates greater transparency. It calls on federal facilities, including military and National Guard installations, to expedite cooperative agreements with states to address PFAS contamination. These agreements commit the federal government to take specific actions and enable states and local communities to be reimbursed for costs incurred to address PFAS contamination. 

If a cooperative agreement is not reached within a year after a state requests one, the bill requires a federal agency, such as the Department of Defense, to send a report to Congress explaining the reason for the delay and a projected timeline for completing the agreement. In addition, the bill enables the federal government to issue grants to states, local communities, and Tribes to take actions to address drinking, ground, and surface waters contaminated by PFAS. 

Senator Cantwell has led efforts in Congress to address water contamination due to PFAS. In 2017, she urged the Senate Appropriations Committee to support programs to investigate and clean up chemicals that have contaminated drinking water sources across the nation. Cantwell has also called for the inclusion of firefighters in studies on the health effects of occupational exposure to PFAS and helped secure $62 million in additional resources to clean up contamination caused by the chemicals. 

U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Burr (R-NC), Gary Peters (D-MI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) cosponsored the PFAS Accountability Act.