Rep. Carbajal’s Bipartisan Bills Combating PFAS Contamination at Airports Signed into Law

President Biden signs Rep. Carbajal’s ‘Clean Airport Agenda’, creating a new grant program to help airports transition away from PFAS firefighting foams and requiring routine updates from federal agencies for implementing phase out of toxic ‘forever chemicals’

  • Carbajal SLO Airports PFAS Event

Last night, President Joe Biden signed into law Congressman Salud Carbajal’s (CA-24) ‘Clean Airport Agenda’, a slate of bipartisan bills aimed at helping curb the threat of forever chemicals near airports.

The bills are part of the bicameral aviation policy package crafted over the past year with the help of Rep. Carbajal and his colleagues on the House Aviation Subcommittee.

The‘Clean Airport Agenda’ includes Rep. Carbajal’s Pollution-Free Aviation Sites (PFAS) Act, which establishes a grant program to support airports as they replace firefighting foams containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). It also contains the Save Our Airports Reporting Act, which requires regular progress reports from federal agencies as airports phase out these ‘forever chemicals.’ 

“Clean and safe drinking water is paramount to protecting the health of our communities. But our regional airports pose risks to that threat through no fault of their own. Their use of foams containing PFAS chemicals was a requirement of the federal government, and so we should ensure the federal government is helping them phase out these chemicals once and for all,” said Rep. Carbajal. “My Clean Airport Agenda not only gives these airports a helping hand to transition to safer firefighting foams, but it also ensures we are holding federal agencies accountable for their plans to phase out these toxic tools. I am proud to see agreement from all sides of Congress on this key priority, and to see them signed into law.”

Rep. Carbajal’s ‘Clean Airport Agenda’ is part of the bicameral aviation policy legislation under sections 762 and 767

The ‘Clean Airport Agenda’ was also co-led by Reps. Mike Lawler (R-NY-17) and Derrick Van Orden (R-WI-03).

“I’m pleased that the Save our Airports Act has been incorporated into this year’s FAA Reauthorization Act,” said Congressman Lawler. “I was proud to join my colleagues Representatives Carbajal and Van Orden to introduce this legislation last year, which will facilitate the transition of our nation’s airports away from the use of PFAS-containing foams, helping ensure the safety of travelers, airport staff, and surrounding communities. As a member of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, ensuring that Americans are safe from PFAS chemical exposure remains one of my top concerns, and I look forward to continuing to work with colleagues in both parties on this important priority.”

“The federal government is long overdue in their work to combat the PFAS contamination they created,” said Rep. Van Orden. “My constituents, and Americans across the nation, should be able to access safe, clean water. I am very proud to see these two bipartisan bills included in this year’s FAA bill and thank Reps. Carbajal and Lawler for their collaboration in getting folks the water quality they deserve.”

The bills have the support of airport-focused and firefighter safety organizations such as the International Association of Fire Fighters, Airports Council International — North America, the California Airports Council, and the Environmental Working Group. 

“It’s well past time to remove toxic, PFAS-laden foams from use at our nation’s airports. Fire fighters and the public deserve better. The IAFF stands firmly behind Reps. Salud Carbajal and Mike Lawler's bipartisan legislation directing the FAA to replace these carcinogens with safer alternatives. Our union will work tirelessly to make sure this bill becomes a reality so that every fire fighter – and the people we protect – avoid needless exposure to forever chemicals,” said Edward A Kelly, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

“The ‘’Save Our Airports Reporting Act’ and the ‘Pollution-Free Aviation Sites Act’’ address critical areas of concern, offering much-needed support for our industry's efforts toward sustainability and safety,” said Jim Lites, Executive Director for the California Airports Council. “We appreciate Congressman Carbajal’s foresight in recognizing the financial implications and complexities associated with this transition. The California Airports Council firmly believes that these bills will provide the necessary tools and direction to facilitate the shift to fluorine-free firefighting foam.”

“ACI-NA appreciates the help of Congressman Carbajal in helping U.S. airports successfully transition to new firefighting foams.  For decades the federal government has mandated that airports use firefighting foams containing PFAS.  With PFAS-free alternatives set to be available soon, airports need federal assistance and timely and updated guidance from the FAA on how to make in this transition.  ACI-NA appreciates the work Congressman Carbajal is doing to assist airports in this important transition so that we can continue our safety mandate while being good stewards of the environment,” said Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO, Airports Council International – North America.

The San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, Santa Maria Airport, and Santa Barbara Airport also support the laws. 

“Congressman Carbajal's legislation presents a pivotal moment for our industry, one that holds the promise of addressing a pressing concern that affects not just a single airport or a region but our entire aviation community. At the heart of these bills is a critical opportunity to confront the pervasive issue of PFAS contamination at airports head-on, while also championing sustainability and environmental responsibility on a broader scale,” stated Courtney Johnson, County of San Luis Obispo Director of Airports. “Both pieces of legislation demonstrate proactive steps that transcend individual airports, benefit the entire aviation community by safeguarding the environment, promote public health, and strengthen our industry.”

"Santa Maria Airport is grateful to Congressman Carbajal for recognizing that the burden of PFAS at local airports is not just a local problem, and for introducing legislation that can help remove the threat of these forever chemicals at airports for good,” said Martin Pehl, General Manager for Santa Maria Airport. “Like other regional airports, we followed federal rules and regulations on deploying these foams. Now, we applaud this effort to bring more federal support to help airports like ours transition to PFAS-free alternatives."

"This legislation underscores the essential role of federal support in our transition away from existing federally-mandated use of firefighting foam containing PFAS. A federal commitment is vital for a successful and effective shift towards safer alternatives at all commercial service airports," said Chris Hastert, Santa Barbara Airport Director.

El Presidente Biden firma proyectos de ley del Congresista Carbajal para combatir contaminación de químicos PFAS en los aeropuertos

El Presidente Biden aprueba la “agenda de aeropuertos limpios” del Congresista Carbajal, que crea un nuevo programa para ayudar a los aeropuertos a eliminar los químicos PFAS y exige a las agencias federales que informen sobre los esfuerzos de limpieza

El Presidente Joe Biden firmó hoy dos proyectos de ley del Congresista Salud Carbajal (CA-24) que ayudarán a combatir la contaminación de químicos por las PFAS cerca de los aeropuertos.

La agenda de aeropuertos limpios (Clean Airport Agenda), que el Congresista Carbajal presentado por primera vez en Octubre, crea un programa de subsidios para ayudar a los aeropuertos a eliminar los químicos PFAS y exige a las agencias federales informes frecuentes sobre el progreso de la eliminación de los químicos PFAS.

Las regulaciones federales pasadas exigían que los aeropuertos usen espumas para la extinción de incendios que contengan químicos PFAS. Los químicos PFAS presentan riesgos para la salud, y se conocen como “químicos permanentes.”

La agenda de aeropuertos limpios ayudara a estos aeropuertos en la transición a espumas contra incendios. También garantiza que responsabilicemos a las agencias federales de sus planes para eliminar gradualmente estos químicos. 

“El agua potable limpia y segura es fundamental para proteger la salud de nuestras comunidades. Pero nuestros aeropuertos contienen riesgos de salud y el agua limpia sin que sea culpa suya,” dijo el Congresista Carbajal. “Su uso de espumas que contienen productos químicos PFAS era un requisito del gobierno federal, por lo que debemos asegurarnos de que el gobierno federal les ayude a eliminar estos productos químicos de una vez por todas.”

Los proyectos de ley se incluyeron en el paquete de pólizas de aviación redactado por el Congresista Carbajal y sus colegas del Subcomité de Aviación de la Cámara de Representantes.

Los Congresistas Mike Lawler (R-NY-17) y Derrick Van Orden (R-WI-03) también dirigieron conjuntamente la agenda de aeropuertos limpios.

Las leyes tienen el apoyo de organizaciones como el Aeropuerto Regional del Condado de San Luis Obispo, el Aeropuerto de Santa María, el Aeropuerto de Santa Bárbara, la Asociación Internacional de Bomberos (International Association of Fire Fighters), el Consejo Internacional de Aeropuertos de Norteamérica (Airports Council International — North America), el Consejo de Aeropuertos de California (California Airports Council) y el Grupo de Trabajo Ambiental (Environmental Working Group). 

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