WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), along with a bipartisan group of senators, announced the introduction of legislation to reduce the spread of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination at commercial airports.

The Preventing PFAS Runoff at Airports Act would deploy more existing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding for commercial airports to purchase devices necessary to test their firefighting equipment without discharging toxic PFAS chemicals.

This legislation would incentivize commercial airports to purchase the relatively low-cost devices—also referred to as an input-based testing system—to help limit and prevent exposure to PFAS, which are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down.

“The FAA requires regular testing of firefighting equipment, which may put undue burdens on regional, commercial airports, and lead to the discharge of harmful chemicals like PFAS,” Senator Capito said. “Specifically, the Preventing PFAS Runoff at Airports Act would benefit several airports in West Virginia – like Yeager, Greenbrier, and Mid-Ohio Valley – and improve overall safety of their operations. This bill would enable them to purchase equipment to test their airport rescue and firefighting equipment without dispersing PFAS foam, and I’m proud to join a bipartisan group of my colleagues today introducing it.”

Joining Senator Capito as cosponsors of the Preventing PFAS Runoff at Airports Act, which was authored by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.), are Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.)

The FAA has required commercial airports nationwide to use firefighting foam that contains toxic PFAS chemicals. For years, airports were required to discharge this foam as part of routine, federally-mandated testing of their firefighting equipment. This put firefighters, the environment and the public at risk from exposure to toxic PFAS chemicals.

The Preventing PFAS Runoff at Airports Act would make more funding from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP) available to commercial airports to purchase devices that avoid discharging PFAS chemicals when testing firefighting equipment. It would also direct the FAA to identify options for reimbursing airports in West Virginia and elsewhere that already acquired the devices without federal funding.

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