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PA Senior Senator Advances Measures Related to China’s Cheating, PFAS, Protecting Human Rights Abroad

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that several provisions he worked to advance have been successfully adopted to and passed within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

PFAS: Casey helped secure the inclusion of a number of provisions to advance research and a path toward remediation of toxic exposure to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). He has been at the forefront of efforts to address PFAS contamination in drinking water in Bucks and Montgomery Counties as a result of the use of a toxic firefighting agent at military installations.

In recent years, he helped lead efforts to authorize and fund a five-year Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study on the health effects of PFAS exposure, which will begin in the coming months. He has also worked to secure funding for Department of Defense environmental remediation efforts. This NDAA amendment brings Pennsylvanians one step closer toward getting PFAS out of their water and getting the federal government to take responsibility for cleanup and remediation. 

Among other measures, the amendment:

  • Sets a deadline for the EPA to set a PFAS cleanup standard for drinking water utilities
  • Requires EPA to identify and share the sources of PFAS emissions around the United States
  • Expedites analysis of PFAS chemicals and their health effects
  • Requires EPA to set a national primary drinking water regulation (NPDWR) for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) to minimize the amount of PFOS and PFOA allowed in drinking water
  • Requires EPA to include all PFAS substances in the fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR), which is a monitoring methodology for drinking water
  • Adds PFAS to the Toxic Release Inventory, which requires manufacturers to report on certain chemical discharges into the air and water
  • Authorizes $100 million in grant funding to address PFAS via the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, with at least 25 percent going to disadvantaged communities and water systems that serve 25,000 or less
  • Authorizes the U.S. Geological Survey to test surface and groundwater for PFAS pollution with a focus on sites known to have PFAS contamination

Protecting PA’s Intellectual Property: Casey is also fighting to counter Chinese, Russian and Iranian intellectual property theft from Pennsylvania’s academic research institutions. He secured the inclusion of an amendment authorizing the Department of Defense to provide training to academic research institutions and personnel on unclassified and sensitive national security information. The amendment will help ensure that universities are better protected against IP theft by malign foreign actors and that unclassified information is not used as a weapon against U.S. national security interests.

Taking Back Congressional Authority Over War Authorization: Casey joined with fellow Democrats in voting for an amendment to prohibit the United States from expending funds which could lead to war with Iran without express approval from Congress, as required by the Constitution. President Trump’s incendiary rhetoric over the last several weeks and months has brought the United States to a crisis point and risks entangling the United States in a foreign war that will endanger the lives of Pennsylvania’s brave women and men in uniform. Senator Casey will continue to fight to assert constitutionally-vested congressional authority over the decision to go to war, and will push against reckless and thoughtless decisions that put Americans in harm’s way.

Burn Pits: Casey also co-sponsored the Burn Pit Accountability Act, which was included in the NDAA to examine the health effects of servicemembers’ and veterans’ exposure to open burn pits and other toxic airborne chemicals, integrating evaluations into routine health exams.

Afghan Women: Finally, following on his longstanding record of supporting women’s rights, security and representation in Afghanistan, Casey co-sponsored Sen. Shaheen’s amendment to require efforts to ensure meaningful participation of Afghan women in the Afghan peace process. Any United States withdrawal from Afghanistan must ensure that progress on women’s access to education, participation in the workforce and representation in government does not backslide.