Peters to Convene Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Field Hearing in East Lansing on PFAS Contamination in Michigan

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, will convene a field hearing titled “Improving Interagency and Intergovernmental Coordination on PFAS for Michigan Communities” on MONDAY, August 1, 2022 at 10:00 AM at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The hearing will examine federal efforts and coordination with state and local governments to clean up and prevent contamination from per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS), as well as the impact that exposure to these toxic chemicals has had on servicemembers, first responders, families, and other Michiganders. Following the hearing, Peters will hold a media availability.

Peters requested that federal officials from the Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency testify about how federal agencies are working to address PFAS contamination across Michigan, including at military sites. Peters has also invited Michigan witnesses, representing state and local perspectives, to testify on a second panel about the devastating impacts of PFAS exposure, and how the federal government can better coordinate with state and local governments to tackle the crisis.

“Exposure to PFAS continues to adversely impact the health and safety of people all across Michigan. That is why I’ve long pressed the federal government to increase efforts to protect our communities from these harmful chemicals,” said Senator Peters. “I am bringing federal officials to Michigan so that we can hear directly from them on how the federal government can more effectively address this crisis moving forward. PFAS contamination has long plagued Michiganders and this hearing will provide a platform to people across our state who have been affected by this issue, as well as give them an important opportunity to discuss how the federal government can work with state, local, and tribal governments to clean up these toxic chemicals.”  

The following witnesses are confirmed:

Panel I:

  • Patrick Breysse, PH.D., Director National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Bruno Pigott, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
  • Richard Kidd, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy Resilience, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Sustainment), U.S. Department of Defense;
  • Nancy Balkus, P.E. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Environment, Safety, and Infrastructure), Department of the Air Force; and
  • John Gillespie, Senior Subject Matter Expert, Environmental Restoration, Air Force Civil Engineer Center.

Panel II:

  • Abigail Hendershott, Executive Director, Michigan PFAS Action Response Team;
  • Breanna Knudsen, Tribal Environmental Response Program Specialist. Planning Department, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan;
  • Cheryl Murphy, PH.D., Director, Center for PFAS Research, Michigan State University;
  • Lt. Col. Craig Minor, USAF (RET.), Former Resident, Wurtsmith Air Force Base; and
  • Cathy Wusterbarth. Founder, Need Our Water and Oscoda Citizens for Clean Water and Community Leader, Great Lakes PFAS Action Network.

The hearing builds on Peters’ longstanding efforts to address PFAS contamination. His bill to protect firefighters from hazardous PFAS chemicals has passed the Senate. Peters recently introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen and expand federal research on PFAS contamination. His bipartisan legislation to reduce the spread of PFAS chemicals at commercial airports has advanced in the Senate. Last year, Peters convened a hearing to examine how servicemembers, their families and communities across the country have been harmed by exposure to toxic PFAS substances connected to military sites. In September 2018, Peters helped convene the first hearing on PFAS contamination in the Senate, assessing the federal response to contamination and remediation. He then convened a field summit in Grand Rapids in November 2018 to shine a light on how the local, state and federal governments are coordinating their response to PFAS.

Media interested in attending should RSVP to peterspress@hsgac.senate.gov.

WHO: U.S. Senator Gary Peters, senior federal officials, and Michigan witnesses representing local perspectives

WHAT: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Field Hearing Titled “Improving Interagency and Intergovernmental Coordination on PFAS for Michigan Communities”

WHEN: MONDAY, August 1, 2022 at 10:00 AM

WHERE: Michigan State University, Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building, Room 1404, 766 Service Road, East Lansing, MI 48823

For more information or to watch a live stream of the hearing, please click here.

(Note: Please refresh the hearing web page at the scheduled start time. Streaming will start once the hearing begins.)

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