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Trump Promises to Veto a Bill Banning the Military From Using Toxic Products With PFAS

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The Trump administration says the Department of Defense isn’t to blame for a toxic firefighting foam the military helped pioneer in the 1960s.

President Donald Trump threatened to veto a defense spending bill with an amendment that restricts the use of a toxic chemical compound found in firefighting foams on Tuesday. Several provisions in the bill, introduced in the House this month, would require the United States Department of Defense to switch to safer foams without per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been linked to birth defects and an increased risk of cancer. The bill would also require the military to pay to clean up sites where its activities have contaminated the water, including farms and watersheds, and classify the areas as Superfund sites. 

The White House‘s Office of Budget and Management said in a statement that the president would likely veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it includes limitations on PFAS, or to border wall funding and presidential authority under national emergency declarations, among other provisions. “At potentially great cost to and significant impact on DOD’s mission, the legislation singles out DOD, only one contributor to this national issue,” the president’s advisors wrote.

The administration says these requirements place too great a burden on the DOD, arguing that the military is not the main offender when it comes PFAS use—a claim that many advocates, environmental groups, and lawmakers dispute. 

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