June 19, 2019


Washington, D.C.U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is fighting to include three more amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act that will strengthen restrictions on PFAS chemicals and provide funding through the Secretary of Defense to address PFAS contamination. These provisions would build upon the protections Senator Manchin already secured during the Senate Armed Services Committee mark-up of the bill that will create an environmental restoration account within the National Guard and streamline the process for finalizing the cooperative endeavor agreements that must be completed before remediation work can begin. These commonsense policy changes will help ensure places like Martinsburg, West Virginia get the help they need from their federal partners.

“PFAS chemicals are incredibly dangerous and we need to ensure we do everything we can to clean up contaminated water and land, and strengthen restrictions on these chemicals to prevent further contamination. West Virginia has seen firsthand what PFAS contamination can do. That’s why I’ve been working to help Martinsburg get reimbursed for clean-up efforts that cost the city millions of dollars. I will fight not only to protect my provisions already in the bill, but I will continue fighting for these additional commonsense amendments that will ensure every West Virginian and American has access to clean drinking water,” Senator Manchin said. 

Amendment #417 EPA Designations:

  • Within 1 year of enactment, the EPA Administrator would designate PFAS substances as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).

Amendment #694 Safe-Drinking Water Detection and Assistance:  

  • Immediately includes PFOA and PFOS chemicals to the Toxic Release Inventory
  • Requires EPA to set a national drinking water standard for PFAS substances within two years from enactment and final rule within a year of the proposed standard
  • Includes PFAS substances in the EPA’s monitoring program for unregulated contaminants
  • Requires the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey to establish a performance standard for the detection of perfluorinated compounds
  • Provides safe drinking water assistance by establishing a national research initiative to improve identification, monitoring, and treatment of emerging contaminants such as PFAS with eligible participants including higher-education institutions, state/local agencies, non-profits, and private entities
  • Requires the EPA to publish guidance on the destruction and disposal of PFAS

Amendment #574 Perfluorinated Compounds:

  • Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to expend funds for grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to address contamination by PFAS compounds.

Read below for a full list of Senator Manchin’s efforts on PFAS:

May 2016 – Following the announcement by EPA that they would lower the lifetime health advisory for PFOA and PFOS, Senator Manchin worked to help the cities of Martinsburg, Parkersburg and Vienna – all of which had legacy contamination that prompted the issuance of a “Do Not Drink” advisory from the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health.

January 2017- During a Martinsburg City Council meeting on January 12, 2017, Richard P. McCoy, chief of the Environmental Restoration Branch of the Air National Guard, stated, "That's the Air Force policy. We're the cause of the contamination and we will act responsibly.” This is when discussion of drafting a cooperative agreement began.

In June 2017- the Air National Guard briefed the city council that cooperative agreement discussions were on pause because DoD didn’t have authority to reimburse communities for costs incurred prior to an agreement.

Fall 2017 – Senator Manchin, along with Senator Capito, calls senior official including Robert Hartley, then-acting Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy and Lucian Niemeyer, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment urging them to remediate the PFOA contamination in Martinsburg linked to the use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) in the area.

January 9, 2018 – Senator Manchin speaks with Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, Robert Hood, about Martinsburg.

January 2018 – Senator Manchin sends a letter to the President outlining infrastructure priorities, including Martinsburg.

April 2018 – Senator Manchin, along with 24 of his colleagues, sends a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt outlining the serious public health concerns related to PFAS contamination and encouraging the agency to take swift action to address those concerns.

May 2018 – Senator Manchin writes to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney asking for the immediate release of the results of a study regarding the full effects of PFAS on human health.

June 2018 – Senator Manchin supported an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to allow the DOD to pay for clean-up costs related to the contamination of Martinsburg water supply.

July 2018 – Senator Manchin sends a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt encouraging the agency to host a community meeting in West Virginia to hear from citizens who have been directly affected by PFAS contamination.

August 2018 – Following the resignation of Mr. Pruitt, Senator Manchin sends a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler encouraging the agency to host a community meeting in West Virginia to hear from citizens who have been directly affected by PFAS contamination.

August 2018- Senator Manchin works to include nearly $5 million in the FY 2019 Defense Appropriation bill to be set aside for Martinsburg.

September 12, 2018 – Senator Manchin leads a letter to House and Senate appropriators ahead of conference urging them to keep the nearly $5 million in the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations Act to address PFAS treatment in Martinsburg.

September 28, 2018 – President Trump signs the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations Act that includes nearly $5 million for the City of Martinsburg to address PFAS contamination.

September 28, 2018 – Senator Manchin sends a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler expressing his disappointment in the agency’s decision not to hold a public meeting in West Virginia to hear about the long-term challenges posed by PFAS contamination and urging the agency to set a maximum contaminant limit for all PFAS based on rigorous scientific evidence.  

January 2019 – Senator Manchin meets with EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to discuss, among other issues, the importance of setting an enforceable safe drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS as part of the agency’s PFAS Action Plan. 

February 1, 2019 – Senator Manchin, along with 19 of his colleagues, sends a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler reiterating the bipartisan support for the establishment of enforceable safe drinking water standards.

February 28, 2019 – Senator Manchin votes against Andrew Wheeler to be the permanent Administrator of the EPA because he failed to demonstrate a desire or a will to make any meaningful progress on clean drinking water standards.

March 4, 2019- Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced bipartisan legislation, the PFAS Action Act, that would mandate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) within one year of enactment declare per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances eligible for cleanup funds under the EPA Superfund law, and also enable a requirement that polluters undertake or pay for remediation.

March 20, 2019- Senator Manchin and 16 other Senators send a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, requesting the agencies to release communications they’ve had with the White House, and with each other regarding the establishment of federal drinking water standards for PFAS and groundwater pollution guidelines related to those chemicals.

April 2, 2019- Senator Manchin raised the fact that Martinsburg still had not been reimbursed though the money had been appropriated with Acting Secretary Shanahan at a private meeting.

April 4, 2019- Senator Manchin raised the fact that Martinsburg had not been reimbursed with Secretary Wilson at the Air Force Posture hearing.

May 10, 2019- Senator Manchin joins Senator Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Rubio (R-FL) in introducing the PFAS Accountability Act, designed to hold the federal agencies accountable for addressing contamination from PFAS at military bases across the country.

May 22, 2019- Senator Manchin announced an agreement from the United States Air Force to reimburse the City of Martinsburg $4.9 million for the rebuilding of the city’s water treatment facility to clean up and prevent PFAS contamination.