Harrisburg, Pa. – March 8, 2023 — Yesterday, Senator Maria Collett (D-12 Montgomery) called on her colleagues to get more serious about PFAS pollution and announced plans to reintroduce legislation designating certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), specifically those most widely used in firefighting foams, as “hazardous substances” under Pennsylvania’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA).
During floor remarks on Senator Yaw’s SB 144, “Restricting PFAS Chemicals from Firefighting Foam,” Senator Collett expressed her lukewarm support for SB 144 since it would limit the future use of “some” firefighting foams in “some” testing and training scenarios but emphasized that “[SB 144] does not address the more pressing problems faced by Pennsylvanians whose communities have already been contaminated.” Senator Collett implored her colleagues to sign on to her Pennsylvania PFAS Classification and Cleanup memorandum: “It is imperative that we act now to classify the PFAS chemicals used in firefighting foams as ‘hazardous substances’ under HSCA so that Pennsylvanians can finally hold polluters accountable in court.”
“My district has seen some of the highest levels of PFAS contamination in the nation due to decades of use of PFAS-containing firefighting foams on local military bases,” said Senator Collett, whose district includes the Biddle Air National Guard Base and shuttered Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Willow Grove. “These chemicals contaminated the groundwater, wells, and drinking water of hundreds of thousands of past and current residents of my district, not to mention the countless military and civilian employees who worked on these bases over the years.”
Senator Collett directed her colleagues to the January 2020 federal court ruling in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which dismissed a civil suit brought by residents of her district against the US Navy for costs associated with health monitoring on the sole ground that PFAS weren’t classified as hazardous substances under HSCA.
“After visiting Beaver County in February and listening to the heart wrenching stories of Pennsylvanians impacted by last month’s train derailment in East Palestine, I don’t want to see them or anyone else suffer the same fate as my district,” added Senator Collett.