The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of 33 Senators, including Senator King
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led a bipartisan letter urging President Biden to prioritize robust funding to combat per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget request to Congress. The letter, which was co-signed by 33 Senators, including Senator Angus King (I-ME), requests funding to support agencies and programs that will help close gaps in PFAS research, protect public health and the environment from PFAS contamination, and support testing and cleanup of contaminated sites.
“PFAS chemicals have emerged as widespread contaminants affecting thousands of communities across the country, causing significant concern for those drinking contaminated water or facing significant exposures through their work or military service,” the Senators wrote. “The prevalence of PFAS combined with the adverse health impacts associated with exposure—including developmental effects, changes in liver, immune, and thyroid function and increased risk of some cancers—requires a comprehensive approach.”
“We encourage you to provide detailed funding plans for a broad range of agencies and programs in your budget request to Congress for Fiscal Year 2023 to address the scale and scope of the challenges presented by PFAS,” continued the Senators. “Specifically, we ask that your budget request include dedicated funding to close gaps in data and research to better inform responses and drive innovation. Second, we urge prioritization of regulatory work necessary to enhance protections for public health and the environment. Finally, we encourage robust funding to support ongoing testing and cleanup of existing contamination nationwide.”
In addition to Senators Collins, Shaheen, and King, the letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Thomas Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The full letter can be read here.
Senators Collins and Shaheen lead efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination, respond to chemical exposure, and remediate polluted sites. As key negotiators of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was signed into law, Senators Collins and Shaheen secured $10 billion to address PFAS contamination in drinking water. Last month, Senator Collins announced Maine will receive more than $68 million in federal funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve the state’s drinking water and wastewater systems, including addressing PFAS and lead in water supplies.
In May 2021, Senator Collins and Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Council on PFAS, highlighting Maine’s extensive and unfortunate history with PFAS issues and urging the Council to work with the State of Maine on remediation. In April 2021, the Senate passed the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 with an amendment co-sponsored by Senator Collins to allow states to assist more households impacted by unregulated contaminants like PFAS.
Additionally, Senator Collins joined a group of colleagues in calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to set standards on PFAS found in bottled water to ensure bottled water products are safe for drinking. The Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act authorized additional funding for research on the health impacts of PFAS, including an adopted amendment Senator Collins co-sponsored authorizing an additional $15 million for the PFAS study being conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.