Recently I attended an informative meeting hosted by the local greening congregations concerning drinking water. I learned that firefighting foam containing toxic PFAS chemicals has contaminated drinking water in our state, including here on Whidbey Island.
It’s been three years since the discovery of the contamination and some residents are still on bottled water waiting for the Navy to switch their homes to the public water supply. Meanwhile, the Navy and military bases across the country are still using PFAS firefighting foam. I learned that dozens of airports around the world, both military and civilian, are using florine-free foam with great success. We urgently need Congress to put an end to the military use of the PFAS foams to prevent any more drinking water contamination, especially since there is a practical alternative. More specific information can be found at toxicfreefuture.org.
Right now, the U.S. Congress is negotiating a final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the bill that funds the U.S. military. This year a number of amendments have been proposed to address PFAS pollution. Congressman Rick Larsen, representing Whidbey Island, is one of the negotiators. On behalf of all the community members across Whidbey Island who are facing health concerns and drinking water contamination, I urge Congressman Larsen to put public health first and press for the final NDAA to contain strong provisions addressing PFAS. Specifically, the NDAA should require the military to phase out PFAS foams as soon as possible, and add PFAS as a hazardous substance to the Superfund law, which will require that contaminated sites like Coupeville are promptly cleaned up.