Home Chemical InformationPFAS-PFOS-PFOA A One-on-One with Senator Chris Van Hollen

A One-on-One with Senator Chris Van Hollen

by Pat Elder

As you may have read, I shared my script of how an interview should have been done with Ms. Maureen Sullivan during Congressional testimony. You can read that article here. Shortly after, I had an opportunity to speak to Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland regarding his questioning of Ms. Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment during the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on March 28, 2019.  Van Hollen’s questioning starts at 1:21:00

Van Hollen said during the Sullivan hearing that Maryland had four bases with PFAS contamination and wanted to know how the findings were being shared with the local communities. Van Hollen said, “We’ve heard from some citizen groups who have had trouble accessing the results from some of the testing – not in Maryland, but elsewhere.”   Sullivan explained that the Restoration Advisory Boards inform citizens and said, “We always have challenges. Some of our web-based systems.. the security controls…but that’s something we work through on a day to day basis.”

I explained to Sen. Van Hollen there are many more than just four military installations in Maryland with PFAS contamination and I told him there are a dozen locations at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station where PFAS was routinely discharged according to the NavFac Environmental website. I live close to that base where there have been several burn pits at various locations on the base for many years. I told him the contamination was ongoing. Pax River was omitted from the DoD list of PFAS-contaminated sites.

I had previously sent Van Hollen my article on how I would have handled the questioning of Ms. Sullivan.

He said he wished he had more information while he questioned Ms. Sullivan.  He seemed defensive and sheepish.

He asked me to send him studies and data regarding PFAS contamination and I responded that I would provide information and also ask my colleagues to do so.  He said he would look through it. I was given the name of his aide for environmental issues, Meghan Conklin: Meghan_conklin@vanhollen.senate.gov

I encourage you to send Van Hollen links to relevant information. You could mention “Civilian Exposure News” or simply say you understand he was looking for resources.

While I was on Capitol Hill, I also stopped by the offices of:

Donald McEachin (D – VA 4)

Jim McGovern (D – MA 2)

Harley Rouda (D – CA 45)

Greg Stanton (D AZ – 9)

Mark Takano (D – CA 41)

Susan Wild (D – PA – 7)

I dropped off info from the Civilian Exposure website addressing the issue.

These six representatives are behind a petition calling on the EPA to provide safe drinking water for military service personnel and their families. It does not address civilian exposure or overseas contamination, but it’s still good. Here’s the link to their petition.

They write in the petition:

“Despite their knowledge of the horrifying health problems associated with PFAS (birth defects, advanced-stage cancers, thyroid disorders), EPA officials have argued that bringing water systems to healthy levels would be too expensive. Tell the EPA: No more delays!”

Although the Democratic leadership has done little to seriously pressure the EPA or the DoD to clean up the contamination, I suppose it’s encouraging they’re using the PFAS issue as a fundraising tactic. 

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