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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Pentagon: $2 billion price tag to clean up toxic chemicals at more than 400 bases

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment Maureen Sullivan at a House Oversight and Reform subcommittee hearing on PFAS chemicals and their risks on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Sait Serkan Gurbuz / AP)
By Ellen Knickmeyer Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon says it would cost $2 billion to clean up a toxic class of chemicals released at more than 400 bases.

The estimate was detailed by Defense Department official Maureen Sullivan at a House Oversight subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

The chemicals, called PFAS, are contaminating drinking water supplies around the country. The military uses PFAS in firefighting foam. Industries use it to make products stain- and water-repellent.

The subcommittee chairman, Rep. Harley Rouda, D-Calif., says the cost of a cleanup is slowing the federal response.

Some panel members say the response by the Pentagon and Environmental Protection Agency is too slow.

Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick says public water systems nationally face tens of billions of dollars in PFAS-related costs.