Fire-fighting foam chemical regulation bill passes House, with Crow support

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In this Aug. 1, 2018 photo shown on the former grounds of Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster is the Ann’s Choice Retirement Community and the Warminster Community Park in Warminster, Pa. In Warminster and surrounding towns in eastern Pennsylvania, and at other sites around the United States, the foams once used routinely in firefighting training at military bases contained per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. EPA testing between 2013 and 2015 found significant amounts of PFAS in public water supplies in 33 U.S. states. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

AURORA | Aurora Congressman Jason Crow cast his vote for a bill passing the U.S. House of Representatives Friday directing the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate so-called “forever chemicals” contaminating waterways across the U.S., including under Buckley Air Force Base.

However, the vote comes after the Trump administration announced its opposition to the sweeping regulation of per- and poly-flouroalkyl substances, or PFASs — throwing the bill’s future into jeopardy.

Recent controversy over local contamination is blamed most on the use of fire-fighting foam at airfields.

The House of Representatives voted 247 to 159 to pass the PFAS Action Act of 2019.

If President Donald Trump signs the bill into law, the Act would set the EPA to regulate and clean up PFASs, the chemicals concerning concern across the U.S. Thousands of chemicals falling under the PFAS umbrella are still not fully regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, including two common compounds found in high concentrations at Buckley Air Force Base: perfluorooctanoic acid, abbreviated PFOA, and perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS.

Mounting evidence now indicates people exposed to high concentrations of some PFASs, including PFOA, have experienced a host of health issues from low infant birth weights, cancer and thyroid hormone disruption, the EPA says.

Since 2016, residents of communities near Colorado Springs have been found to have elevated levels in their blood after waste leaking from Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson sullied watersheds and underground drinking water sources. Communities across the U.S. have also been impacted, according to the Environmental Working Group. Fire-fighting foam is to blame primarily, experts say.

“Our community, home to Buckley Air Force Base, knows the hazardousness of PFAS all too well,” Rep. Crow said in a statement. “We’ve seen elevated levels of PFAS in the groundwater in Colorado and it’s time it was addressed. Today’s vote for the PFAS Action Act is a solemn one, this is a situation that demands action and we must hold federal agencies accountable to address it.”

The bill was widely supported — and sponsored — by Democratic Representatives, including Boulder Congressman Joe Neguse. From the Republican party, four Representatives co-signed the bill as well and 24 members voted for its passage.

The Trump administration’s Office of Budget and Management announced its “strong opposition” to the bill Tuesday.

“…the bill would create considerable litigation risk, set problematic and unreasonable rulemaking timelines and precedents, and impose substantial, unwarranted costs on Federal, State, and local agencies and other key stakeholders in both the public and private sectors,” the agency said in a statement.