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Air Force Agrees to Provide City of Portsmouth $1.3 Million to Continue Ongoing Pease Clean-Up Effort

 PORTSMOUTH, NH — Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Senator Maggie Hassan, and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today announced that the U.S. Air Force has agreed to pay the City of Portsmouth $1.3 million to complete next steps in the ongoing Pease clean-up effort.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates a real and ongoing commitment from the Air Force to rid the Pease wells of dangerous water contaminants,” said Senator Shaheen. “Granite State families who are worried about their children getting sick from drinking contaminated water deserve peace of mind, and the additional funding for this carbon filtration system is an important step forward. I’ll continue to work to improve the safety of drinking water in New Hampshire communities.” 

“The announcement of this funding from the Air Force to address water contamination at Haven, Harrison, and Smith Wells  is a step in the right direction, but there is more work to do to ensure that all Granite Staters and their families have access to clean, safe drinking water,” Senator Hassan said. “Communities exposed to emerging contaminants in their water understandably have many concerns about their health, and I will continue working with the Congressional Delegation and federal partners to ensure that those concerns are urgently addressed.”

“Today’s investment by the Air Force is a good next step toward addressing unacceptable PFC contamination in our drinking water,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “I will continue to insist that the Air Force take financial responsibility for both cleaning up our water and for studying the health impacts of the level of PFC exposure that Pease-area residents have already experienced.”

Today’s Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement for Engineering Design Services will require the Air Force to provide the City of Portsmouth with funding to complete design plans for the carbon filtration system that will remove perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in water from the Haven, Harrison and Smith Wells, which are treated at the former Pease Air Force Base water treatment facility now operated by the City. This is the third agreement between the Air Force and the City for expenses related to mitigating PFC levels, which have been measured at levels exceeding the EPA’s lifetime health advisory in local drinking water. The first two agreements provided funding for preliminary design services and for a pilot project and demonstration of PFC removal. 

To date, the financial commitment of the Air Force for Pease mitigation activities totals $25 million. The Air Force’s projected $30 million investment in 2017 includes $13 million to retrofit the water treatment facility.

Last month, Shea-Porter’s amendments directing the Department of Defense to fund a CDC health impact study of exposure to PFCs in groundwater around military installations, as well as an amendment she cosponsored to fund ongoing mitigation efforts, passed the House with unanimous support as part of its annual Defense Appropriations bill. 

In April 2017, Senator Shaheen introduced the Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act, bipartisan legislation, which Senator Hassan cosponsored, that would help strengthen Federal and state efforts to improve drinking water systems. The Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act creates a national strategy to coordinate the Federal response to emerging contaminants and provides state assistance in responding to related public health challenges. Shaheen also successfully included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that directs the Department of Defense to fund a nationwide health study on the implications of perflourinated chemicals in drinking water. Both Senators and the Congresswoman continue to work to ensure that the Air Force continues to engage with the Pease community and responds to their concerns.

Kuster Hosts Drinking Water Infrastructure Forum in Keene

2016-07-18 Kuster Keene Drinking Water ForumKeene, NH – Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) gathered leaders from federal, state and local environmental agencies, public health organizations, and experts from across Cheshire County to discuss the current state of New Hampshire’s drinking water health and infrastructure. The forum allowed stakeholders to discuss the importance of maintaining quality water infrastructure for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes in local communities. This is the second stop on a “water tour” Congresswoman Kuster has been holding since reports that water in Litchfield, New Hampshire contained higher-than-safe levels of PFOA.

“Water infrastructure plays a critical role in New Hampshire’s ability to attract and retain both families and businesses in our communities. This infrastructure supports recreational, residential, and business opportunities that are integral to the success of the Granite State’s well-being and economy. What’s more, we must ensure that no local residents are EVER in danger of drinking contaminated water,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I organized today’s forum to bring key stakeholders together, so we could identify a path forward to guarantee necessary maintenance to of our state’s water infrastructure. We must ensure our communities have access to high-quality drinking water for generations to come. By tackling this issue proactively, we will best protect our communities from water crises down the road.”

During the briefing, Congresswoman Kuster questioned officials about the possible environmental and health impacts of aging drinking water health and systems, as well as the next steps to ensure that Granite Staters are adequately protected from the possible health issues that can result from older water infrastructure. Kuster was joined by Keene Mayor Kendall Lane; Rob Warner, the State Director of the League of Conservation Voters; Jane Downing, Associate Director of Drinking Water at the Environmental Protection Agency; Kurt Blomquist, Public Works Director for the City of Keene; and Cathy Corkery, Chapter Director for the Sierra Club, among others. Participants also discussed the status of water systems in the area, and how they can be updated and maintained to avoid public health concerns in the years to come.

Kuster is committed to ensuring that communities across the Granite State have access to safe and reliable drinking water. This spring, she met with environmental experts and local officials after water samples in southern New Hampshire revealed elevated levels of PFOA, a possible carcinogen, in the area around the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastic plant in Merrimack. In May, Rep. Kuster wrote to the EPA urging the Agency to expeditiously release a public health advisory for PFOA and PFOS chemicals, which have been found in many private wells in the Southern tier. Many New Hampshire residents rely on private wells for drinking water, and are concerned about the potential long-term health impacts of exposure to unsafe levels of these chemicals. Kuster will continue to meet with communities across the state to discuss their efforts to maintain healthy water infrastructures.

Kelly Ayotte (Again) Is Only New England Senator To Oppose Clean Water Protections

waves water lake by -jonathan-beanCONCORD – As Kelly Ayotte continues her undisguised attempt to mislead Granite Staters about her record of voting to undermine New Hampshire’s environment and beautiful natural resources, Ayotte voted this morning to oppose efforts to protect clean drinking water for millions of Americans. Ayotte was the only New England Senator to oppose these important clean water protections.

Try as she might to fool voters, Ayotte’s dismal environmental record speaks loud and clear: Ayotte has voted with the Koch Brothers 94% of the time on the environment, including voting multiple times to protect tax breaks for Big Oil and voting to block the Environmental Protection Agency from ever having the ability to reduce greenhouse gases. And Ayotte’s record has earned her a lifetime score of 23% from the League of Conservation Voters – even worse than Scott Brown’s lifetime score of 38%.

“It’s deeply troubling that Kelly Ayotte was the only New England Senator to vote against against important efforts to preserve our beautiful natural resources and protect clean drinking water for millions of Americans,” said Maggie for NH Communications Director Aaron Jacobs. “But siding with corporate special interests over New Hampshire’s environment is nothing new for Ayotte, who has fought to protect tax breaks for Big Oil and votes with the Koch Brothers 94% of the time on environmental issues.” 

“Governor Maggie Hassan has always been a strong champion for New Hampshire’s environment, and in the Senate, she will fight to put the Granite State’s beautiful natural resources first, not special interests,” added Jacobs. 

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