WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 28, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) issued this statement following confirmation from the Air Force that it will clean up all three city-owned wells at Pease and forgo a dispute with the Environmental Protection Agency’s order to clean up the Haven well:
“Following my meeting with Secretary James on Wednesday, I was pleased that the Air Force committed today to cleanup all three wells and forgo a dispute, which will allow the Air Force to focus on ensuring the community has clean and safe water. As Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee that oversees environmental cleanup, I will continue to monitor the Air Force’s actions closely.”
Ayotte serves as the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, which has specific oversight authority for environmental programs and cleanup. Since 2014, Ayotte and her staff have used meetings, letters, and legislation to hold the Air Force accountable to clean up the Haven Well contamination.
In addition to fighting for the local community to have safe and clean water, Ayotte led the effort to include language in the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act Report that presses the Air Force to identify and notify service members and Department of Defense civilians who may have been exposed to perflourochemicals (PFCs) found in the Haven Well. The provision requires the Air Force to report to Congress on its progress by September 30.
When a June 30 letter from the Air Force suggested that the service was not complying with this direction from the Senate Armed Services Committee, Ayotte worked with Senator Shaheen to send a bipartisan July 9 letter to the Air Force reminding the Air Force of its responsibility to comply with the language. The letter concluded with the following sentence: “We believe that the Air Force has a responsibility to take care of those who serve our country and that surely includes informing them when they may have been exposed to dangerous chemicals.”
During Ayotte’s September 23 meeting with Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, Ayotte asked about the Air Force’s plan to notify service members and DoD civilians who may have been exposed to contaminants at Pease. James said the Air Force was completing the plan and expected to submit it soon.