Durbin Joins Bipartisan Letter To President Biden Urging Funding For PFAS Research And Remediation In FY2023 Budget Request

WASHINGTON –This week, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) to send a bipartisan letter urging President Biden to prioritize robust funding to combat per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request to Congress. The letter asks for 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 began. “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,” the Senators wrote. “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 Durbin, Shaheen, and Collins, U.S. 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), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), 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) also signed onto the letter.                                         

The full text of the letter is available here.

Durbin has been a longtime champion of PFAS remediation and has previously helped increase funding for PFAS-related clean-up, research, and mitigation work at or near military bases during his tenure as Chair and Vice Chair on the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. Durbin is a cosponsor of the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act, which would regulate PFAS chemicals under the Clean Water Act by creating new effluent limitations and pretreatment standards for sources that discharge PFAS chemicals into our waterways.

In the FY2022 NDAA, Durbin supported language that established a two-year deadline for completion of PFAS testing at Department of Defense and National Guard installations and requires a report on PFAS remediation at bases around the country, including former Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois. Durbin was also a strong advocate for the $10 billion included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to address PFAS contamination in drinking water.