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DeLauro, DeFazio, McGovern, and Kildee Urge EPA Administrator Regan to Fully Address PFAS Pollution

October 06, 2021

Letter Comes as EPA Prepares Multiyear PFAS Strategy

WASHINGTON, DC — House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR-04), House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA-02), and Co-Chair of the Congressional PFAS Task Force Daniel Kildee (D-MI-05) today sent a letter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan urging him to comprehensively address polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS) in the Agency’s forthcoming multi-year strategy. Specifically, the Members urged the EPA to fully address industrial discharges of these “forever chemicals” into the air and water.

“We are concerned the strategy currently being developed by the Agency will fail to meaningfully address industrial discharges of PFAS into the air and water,” wrote Representatives DeLauro, DeFazio, McGovern, and Kildee. “Any forthcoming strategy that fails to immediately designate these chemicals as hazardous substances, fails to accelerate efforts to set drinking water and groundwater cleanup standards, fails to address ongoing industrial releases of PFAS into the air and water, or fails to make sure PFAS wastes are properly disposed would also fail to meet the Agency’s mission to protect human health and the environment.”

“For decades, communities living downwind and downstream of industrial PFAS polluters have waited for action,” continued the Members. “We look forward to working with you to ensure they receive the protection they deserve.”

Earlier today, more than 150 advocacy groups also sent a letter urging Administrator Regan to strengthen efforts to tackle industrial discharges of PFAS under the Clean Water Act.

The full text of the Members’ letter is below. A PDF copy is available here.

Dear Administrator Regan:

We are writing regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) continued efforts to address the contamination of American communities from pollution of per-and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS). Specifically, we are concerned the strategy currently being developed by the Agency will fail to meaningfully address industrial discharges of PFAS into the air and water.

In April 2021, we supported your decision to establish a new EPA Council on PFAS, recognizing the seriousness of the problem and the need to coordinate the Agency’s work from a senior level. We also support the ongoing development of a multi-year strategy on PFAS, including the need to identify new strategies and priorities. But critically, such a strategy must include real protections that address the primary causes of PFAS contamination.

To date, thousands of communities have confirmed the presence of PFAS in their drinking water. For too many American families, this exposure is increasing their risk of cancer and other serious health problems. Despite estimates by experts that as many as 30,000 manufacturers are discharging PFAS, the Agency has for decades failed to set legal standards for industries that discharge their PFAS wastes into the air and water.

Our concerns have only increased since the Agency released its Preliminary Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 15 earlier this month. Despite the well documented risks posed by PFAS, Preliminary Plan 15 excludes most of the industry categories responsible for PFAS pollution and fails to set deadlines for new standards. We find this unacceptable.

On two separate occasions, the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation that would require the Agency to set PFAS standards for nine industry categories within four years.  Anything less ambitious than the standards endorsed by the House would fall short of what communities struggling with PFAS pollution expect from EPA.

Any forthcoming strategy that fails to immediately designate these chemicals as hazardous substances, fails to accelerate efforts to set drinking water and groundwater cleanup standards, fails to address ongoing industrial releases of PFAS into the air and water, or fails to make sure PFAS wastes are properly disposed would also fail to meet the Agency’s mission to protect human health and the environment.

For decades, communities living downwind and downstream of industrial PFAS polluters have waited for action. We look forward to working with you to ensure they receive the protection they deserve.

Sincerely,

ROSA L. DeLAURO

Chair

House Committee on Appropriations

PETER A. DeFAZIO

Chair

House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

JAMES P. McGOVERN

Chairman

House Committee on Rules

DANIEL T. KILDEE

Co-Chair

Congressional PFAS Task Force

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