Press Releases

            Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the inclusion of critical California priorities in the annual National Defense Authorization Act:

             “California’s priorities are well-represented in this year’s annual defense authorization bill. I’m pleased my bill to investigate whether military aviators and aviation support personnel are at higher risk of cancer than the general population was included in the final bill.

             “We were also able to include my bills to help prevent tragedies like the Conception boat fire and to facilitate the long overdue transfer of ownership for the Mare Island Naval Cemetery that will restore it in order to properly honor the veterans buried there.

             “Supporting our military is vital to national security and I’m pleased that this bill once again passed with a bipartisan, veto-proof majority. It’s a testament to how we can still work across the aisle on issues important to California and to the nation.”

 Aviation cancer clusters

            Feinstein’s Military Aviators Cancer Incidence Study Act was included in the National Defense Authorization Act. The provision directs the military to conduct a study comparing cancer prevalence among military aviators and aviation support personnel to that of the general population.

            “Our service members sacrifice enough without having to worry about an elevated risk of cancer for carrying out their duties. This bill’s passage means cancer clusters in airmen and air support personnel will be investigated and any potential source for elevated cancer risk identified so we can get to the bottom of this issue.”

            Feinstein introduced the Military Aviators Cancer Incidence Study Act earlier this year after reporting by McClatchy suggested that military aviators may be at higher risk of developing certain cancers.

Boat safety following Conception fire

            The NDAA also includes Feinstein’s Small Passenger Vessel Safety Act, a bill that establishes new safety measures for small passenger vessels in the aftermath of the Conception boat fire in waters off California’s Santa Cruz Island earlier this year. Representatives Salud Carbajal and Julia Brownley (both D-Calif.) introduced the companion bill in the House.

            “I’d like to thank Representatives Carbajal and Brownley for their help getting this bill passed and sent to the president’s desk. The Conception boat tragedy was a wake-up call to modernize marine safety regulations. It’s my hope that our bill will help prevent deadly boat fires in the future.”

Key reforms in the bill:

  • Requires boats like the Conception to have no less than two means of escape to different parts of the vessel.
  • Mandates safety standards for the handling and storage of phones, cameras and other electronic devices with lithium ion batteries.
  • Establishes stricter standards for interconnected fire alarm systems.

Mare Island Naval Cemetery

            Feinstein-authored legislation was included in the NDAA to restore the historic Mare Island Naval Cemetery, the oldest military cemetery on the West Coast. The legislation would transfer control of the cemetery, which has fallen into disrepair, from the City of Vallejo to the Department of Veterans Affairs to faciliate much-needed repairs and provide ongoing maintaince. Representative Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) introduced the House companion.

Additional Provisions:

  • Big Bear land exchange: The bill includes an amendment introduced by Feinstein in the Senate that authorizes an equitable exchange of 73 acres of federal land in the San Bernardino National Forest for 71 acres owned by San Bernardino County to build a timber and resource recycling facility. Representatives Paul Cook (R-Calif.) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) introduced the amendment in the House.
  • Modoc land transfer: The bill requires the Air Force to transfer unused land in the Modoc National Forest to Modoc County for clean energy development, which would create jobs in the area. The Air Force and Forest Service support the transfer. Feinstein originally introduced an amendment in the Senate to require the transfer and Representative Doug LaMalfa (D-Calif.) introduced the amendment in the House.
  • Defense Media Activity: The bill requires the Defense Department to submit a report on consolidation within the Defense Media Activity program as it transitions from satellite technology to internet streaming. This transition could jeopardize 300 jobs at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif. The amendment was introduced in the House by Representative Mark Takano (D-Calif.).