LANSING, Mich. — Democratic U.S. Senator Gary Peters has announced a slew of witnesses expected to testify at a Senate Subcommittee hearing regarding the federal government’s role in the PFAS crisis in Michigan, and nationwide.
The Senate Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management is convening the hearing next week in Washington, D.C. Two different witness panels have been organized, including a Michigan man living near Oscoda. Another panel includes members from the Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, National Institutes of Health and U.S. Government Accountability Office.
“I look forward to hearing from federal officials and advocates about what more can be done to address this crisis and help Michigan families and veterans who are dealing with the impacts of being unknowingly exposed to PFAS chemicals,” Senator Peters said in a news release.
PFAS are known to be used in firefighting and other industrial applications at military bases, airports and other manufacturing facilities. Arnold Leriche, from Oscoda, is the co-chair of the Wurtsmith [Air Force Base] Restoration Advisory Board. Leriche was an environmental engineer at the EPA.
In 2017, the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team was launched, incorporating a multi-agency team. The state Department of Environmental Quality is testing water supplies around Michigan for PFAS contamination.
In July, an advisory was issued for the town of Parchment after PFAS levels were found to be higher than state and federal health standards. About a month later, on Aug. 27, the Kalamazoo Department of Health and Community Services lifted that advisory.
According to the release from Peters’ office, the Senator helped secure $10 million to fund a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) health study reviewing the health impacts of continued PFAS exposure in March.
Early September, a House subcommittee hearing was held regarding PFAS as well; Representative Fred Upton (R – St. Joseph) revealed during that meeting that PFAS levels at the Battle Creek National Guard Base were “sky high.”
Peters is the ranking member of the subcommittee and “The Federal Role in the Toxic PFAS Chemical Crisis” hearing will take place Wednesday, Sept. 26. Political reporter Mikenzie Frost will be on Capitol Hill covering this hearing online and during our broadcasts.
The full list of witnesses expected to testify during the subcommittee hearing include: