Governor Carney and 14 Governors Urge Congress to Act on Harmful PFAS

Letter expresses need to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney and the Governors of Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin issued a letter to the leadership of both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees urging them to include provisions for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act to protect citizens who would be affected by these substances.

Read the letter here:

Dear Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Reed, Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Thornberry:

As you instruct your conferees to consider the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), we, the undersigned governors, would like to highlight several key provisions related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and urge you to include them in the final legislation.

PFAS are used in many nonstick coatings in consumer products, industrial processes, and firefighting foams often used by the military and at airports. These chemicals, which break down extremely slowly or not at all, can accumulate in our environment and in our bodies, and those that have been studied are associated with adverse health effects, such as liver damage, thyroid disease, and kidney and testicular cancers. Provisions in the current House and Senate measures will ensure the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) mitigates the impacts of PFAS contamination, require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to move more quickly to set PFAS health standards and protections, and provide much-needed resources and guidance as the federal government, states, and communities work to address contamination from these persistent substances.

At current and former military bases across the country, firefighting foam containing PFAS has been in use for many years to meet FAA firefighting standards at FAA controlled airports, and by extension at military airports. In many of these locations, PFAS have leached into groundwater, surface water, and nearby private wells used for drinking water. According to the Government Accountability Office, there are at least 401 military sites with known or suspected PFAS contamination.

As governors, we are evaluating responses appropriate for our states, including in some cases developing or setting drinking water standards for PFAS, and deploying state funds to test, investigate, and remediate PFAS contamination caused by government and industrial uses. Nevertheless, federal action is needed to address PFAS, including contamination in and around military sites.

Our Congressional delegations have worked diligently to include important provisions in the House and Senate bills to require the DoD and EPA to investigate, monitor and clean up PFAS contamination originating from DoD activities. It is clear that many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle understand the urgent need to act to address these toxic PFAS chemicals. As governors whose residents are affected by these toxics, we urge development of a package that includes the strongest provisions from both the House and Senate bills, including the following that would:

  • Require EPA to set an enforceable, nationwide drinking water standard under the Safe Drinking Water Act for PFOA and PFOS within two years of enactment, while preserving states’ authority to enact their own, more stringent standards.
  • Require the EPA to list PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) within one year.
  • Require the EPA to revise the list of toxic pollutants under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to include PFAS and publish effluent and pretreatment standards.
  • Phase out the use of PFAS in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) as quickly as possible.
  • Urge the DoD to finalize cooperative agreements with states and partner with governors to test, monitor, remove, and remediate PFAS contamination originating from DoD activities, including at decommissioned military installations and National Guard facilities. Require that if a cooperative agreement is not reached within one year of the request from a state, the Secretary of Defense must report to Congress with an explanation of why an agreement has not been reached. Remediation should satisfy both federal and state/local remediation targets.
  • Grant the National Guard Bureau access to specific environmental remediation program funding in FY 2020.
  • Authorize the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to develop advanced testing methods capable of detecting PFAS, and to conduct nationwide sampling for these chemicals – focusing first on areas near drinking water with known or suspected PFAS contamination.
  • Require the DoD to treat and clean PFAS-contaminated water used for agricultural purposes.
  • Require public disclosure, as part of Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) annual reports, when environmental releases of about 200 PFAS chemicals occur – including PFOS and PFOA.

The FY2020 NDAA presents an opportunity to take historic steps forward to address PFAS contamination that is harming our states, and we ask you to include the strongest PFAS-related provisions in the final bill.

Sincerely,

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

State of Michigan

Governor John Carney

State of Delaware

 

Governor Charlie Baker

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

Governor Tim Walz

State of Minnesota

 

Governor Chris Sununu

State of New Hampshire

 

Governor Phil Murphy

State of New Jersey

 

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

State of New Mexico

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo

State of New York

 

Governor Roy Cooper

State of North Carolina

 

Governor Mike DeWine

State of Ohio

 

Governor Tom Wolf

State of Pennsylvania

 

Governor Phil Scott

State of Vermont

Governor Ralph Northam

Commonwealth of Virginia

Governor Jay Inslee

State of Washington

Governor Tony Evers

State of Wisconsin

 

###

View and download a copy of the Governors’ letter.


Photographers invited to compete in DNREC’s ‘Delaware Watersheds Photo Contest’

On the Nanticoke
The image above, by Tammy Kearney, was the first-place “Natural Landscapes and Waterscapes of Delaware” image in the 2018 Delaware Watersheds Photo Contest.

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship invites photographers of all ages and skill levels to participate in this year’s Delaware Watersheds Photo Contest. The contest aims to share the beauty of Delaware’s diverse environment while acting as a vivid reminder that everything that happens on land within the state’s watersheds also directly affects what’s happening in our waterways.

A watershed is all of the land that water moves across or under while flowing to a specific body of water. Images from any of Delaware’s watersheds will be accepted. Contest judges will be looking for striking photographic images of Delaware’s waterways, landscapes, native plants and animals, and agricultural practices.

All entries must be submitted by Sunday, June 2. Contest judges from within DNREC will choose entries that move on to the next stage of the contest – online public voting – which will determine the finalists and winners in each category. Photos by contest winners will be on display at the 2019 Delaware State Fair and voted on by fairgoers to determine the overall “Best in Show.” The first place winners of each of five contest categories listed below will receive a Delaware State Park pass for 2020. The first, second, and third place winners of each category will be recognized during the annual DNREC Awards ceremony on Governor’s Day at the Delaware State Fair, and the “Best in Show” will be featured in Outdoor Delaware magazine.

To enter the Delaware Watersheds Photo Contest, participants should fill out the online submission form, which includes providing a description with the entrant’s name, phone number, address, email address, the location the image was taken, the category the photograph is being entered in, and if submitting a photograph in the Native Wildlife or Native Plant category, the name of the species in the photograph. Images must be at least 1650 by 2100 pixels (but no larger than 10MB) resolution, and the digital image must be submitted in .jpeg or .png format. Only photos that meet the criteria, along with a completed form, will be eligible.

Contestants may enter photographs in all or any of the five categories below but photographers can only win one place per category. Your photograph with the most votes will be your final submission for that category. A completed submission form must accompany each photograph entered.

The categories and criteria on submitting photos for them are as follow:

Natural Landscapes of Delaware – Photographs of the scenic visible features of Delaware’s countryside or land.

Waterscapes of Delaware – Photographs of any waterbodies such as streams, rivers, lakes, creeks, estuaries, bay, ocean, etc.

Native Wildlife of Delaware – Entries in this category may only include photographs of native mammals, birds, fish, insects, reptiles, and amphibians of Delaware. Photographs of domesticated animals are not eligible in this category. When submitting in this category, include the name of the species appearing in your photo in the application form.

Native Plants of Delaware – Photographs of Delaware native plants in any setting. When submitting in this category, include the name of the species in the application form. No wildlife are permitted in this category, native plants only.

Agriculture in Delaware – Photographs of the practice of farming, including but not limited to the cultivation of soil for growing crops and rearing animals for food, wool, and other products.

Rules and the submission form are available on the Division of Watershed Stewardship website at Delaware Watersheds Photo Contest. Questions can be emailed to dwpc@delaware.gov.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902


Source Water Protection Subcommittee to meet Nov. 29 in Dover

DOVER – The Source Water Assessment Plan (SWAP) Subcommittee of the Source Water Assessment and Protection Program will meet at 10 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 29, in the Training Room of Tidewater Utilities located at 1100 South Little Creek Road, Dover, DE 19901. The SWAP Subcommittee’s meeting agenda can be found on the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar at https://publicmeetings.delaware.gov/Meeting/60721.

For more information about the Source Water Assessment and Protection Program, please visit http://delawaresourcewater.org, or contact Source Water Program Hydrologist Douglas Rambo at 302-739-9945.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 48, No. 315


Charter School of Wilmington wins 2018 Delaware Envirothon competition sponsored by DNREC

GREENWOOD – Charter School of Wilmington Team A was named the champion of the 2018 Delaware Envirothon competition held Thursday, April 26 at Swartzentruber Farm in Greenwood and sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Charter School of Wilmington won the school’s 19th Envirothon championship in the event’s 23-year history, including an unbroken winning streak since 2002.

Team A (pictured above) is Ashley Pennington, Harshitha Henry, Priyanka Hoskere, Siddharth Gangrade, and Tara Lennon. Charter School of Wilmington Teams’ B and C placed second and third, respectively, in this year’s Envirothon competition.

All 110 students stepped into the outdoor classroom of a 200-acre grass-fed beef cattle operation to test their knowledge of natural resources after preparing all school year. Each of the 22 teams answered questions, reviewed specimens and took measurements in topics dealing with aquatic ecology, soils/land-use, wildlife, forestry, air quality and the current environmental issue of pasture management. Teams also gave a seven- to 10-minute oral presentation of a scenario in which they developed a management plan to optimize grazing potential, enhance wildlife in the area and improve water quality. After more than three hours of testing, Charter School of Wilmington Team A was named the 2018 state champion.

Each member of the winning team earned a $500 scholarship from the Delaware Envirothon, an award plaque for their school, and additional prizes. Charter School of Wilmington Team A will also advance to represent Delaware in the 2018 National Conservation Foundation Envirothon at Idaho State University this summer. The second-, third- and fourth-place teams received more than $1,155 in special team awards and cash prizes.

Prizes in the form of gift cards and ribbons were awarded to the top seven teams. The official results are as follows:

  • First place: Charter School of Wilmington, Team A
  • Second place: Charter School of Wilmington, Team B
  • Third place: Charter School of Wilmington, Team C
  • Fourth place: MOT Charter, Team A
  • Fifth place: Middletown High School, Team Sneaky Snakes
  • Sixth place: Peach Blossom 4-H Club
  • Seventh place: Middletown High School FFA, Team Envirotots

Since its inception, the Delaware Envirothon has awarded $57,500 in scholarships to 115 students. The competition is sponsored annually by DNREC and hosted by the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts (DACD), a voluntary, non-profit association that coordinates conservation efforts statewide to focus on natural resource issues identified by Delaware’s three local districts.

For more information about the Delaware Envirothon, please visit www.delawareenvirothon.org or contact Rick Mickowski at 302-832-3100 ext. 113.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 48, No. 96


Citizens Source Water Protection Committee to meet May 2 in Dover

DOVER – The Source Water Protection Citizens and Technical Advisory Committee (CTAC) of the Source Water Assessment and Protection Program will meet from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, May 2, in Conference Room 220 A&B of the Kent County Administrative Offices on Bay Road in Dover. The CTAC meeting agenda can be found on the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar at https://publicmeetings.delaware.gov/Meeting/56116.

For more information about the Source Water Assessment and Protection Program, please visit http://delawaresourcewater.org, or contact Source Water Program Hydrologist Douglas Rambo at 302-739-9945.

Vol. 48, No. 90

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902