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Top U.S. Air Force official to meet with Oscoda residents on PFAS this week

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Oscoda residents will meet with high ranking U.S. Air Force officials this week to discuss the cleanup of PFAS contamination at the former Wurtsmith Air Force base.

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy, John Henderson, will hold a public forum in Oscoda next Wednesday, April 24 at 4 p.m. at the Oscoda Township Community Center.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that have been linked to serious health issues. The chemicals were used in fire-fighting foam used by the U.S. Air Force for decades to train for and extinguish aircraft fires.

PFAS has been seeping from the base for decades into the groundwater of nearby Oscoda neighborhoods and bodies of water.

“For years, veterans and their families have been speaking out about contamination around Wurtsmith Air Force Base, and they deserve action,” says U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.). Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. 

The acting Secretary of Defense has said the Department of Defense takes its clean up responsibility seriously.   

But the Pentagon has been criticized for fighting state efforts to press it to do more to clean up the PFAS contamination. The Air Force has cited sovereign immunity from state environmental quality regulations and water resources protection laws.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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