“Department of Defense officials had determined that the National Guard lacked authority to use money from an environmental fund to rid Stewart Air National Guard Base and other military facilities on state-owned lands of the toxic chemicals that have infiltrated drinking water supplies nationwide, according to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

On Thursday, Schumer and Gillibrand announced passage by the Senate Armed Services Committee of a defense spending bill that includes a provision they authored giving the National Guard Bureau access to the military’s Environmental Restoration Fund.

Their amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act also clarifies that the National Guard can clean up contamination at state-owned facilities it uses and authorizes the military to fund cleanup of municipal wells contaminated with PFOA and PFOS, Schumer and Gillibrand said…

The NDAA must still be passed by the full Senate and then reconciled with the version passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

‘We are now one big step closer to finally removing PFOS and PFOA from the water supply in the Newburgh and Gabreski communities,’ said Gillibrand, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee. ‘We have an obligation to ensure that our waterways are safe and clean’…

The growing list of contaminated water supplies has spurred a push by elected officials to force DoD to fund cleanups. For facilities on state-owned land like Stewart, the DoD concluded that the National Guard needed to use its own operations and maintenance funds on contamination.

Gillibrand and Schumer’s amendment not only addresses that determination, but also adds $25 million to the military branch’s budgets for operations and maintenance, including $15 million for the National Guard.”

Read the full article by Leonard Sparks