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Dingell Bill to Address PFAS Contamination Heads to House Floor

Washington, November 20, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, bipartisan legislation to address PFAS contamination by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) cleared a key hurdle by passing the House Energy and Commerce Committee and now heads to the House Floor for consideration.

The Committee passed Dingell’s PFAS Action Act which lists select PFAS chemicals – PFOA and PFOS – as hazardous substances within one year under the Superfund program to direct federal resources to clean up contaminated sites and limit their spread. It would also require EPA to make a determination on all remaining PFAS chemicals within five years.  Several other PFAS bills were also added to the PFAS Action Act as an amendment.

“PFAS is a clear threat to human health and our environment,” said Dingell. “I made a promise to my constituents I would keep fighting for PFAS legislation that actually addresses cleaning up ‘forever chemical’ and calling it what it is – a toxic chemical.

“The Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Dingell bill addressing multiple issues related to PFAS and included the work of many of my colleagues who share these concerns. Most importantly, the Dingell bill lists PFOA and PFOS as a hazardous chemical under CERLA to make contaminated sites eligible federal support through the Superfund program. Now our work advances to the House floor.

“The reality is a lot of contamination is connected to military sites and the Defense Department. We are continuing to champion strong provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act to identify PFAS as a hazardous substance for the purpose of clean up under the EPA’s Superfund program and facilitate coordinated response between local communities and the military.

“We need to set one national standard with strong enforcement, stop PFAS contamination, and clean up this forever chemical once and for all. These chemicals are too hazardous for inaction.”

Video of Dingell at Committee markup is available here.

As included in the bill passed by the Committee Wednesday, the PFAS Action Act would simply require the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to list  PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under the Superfund program and direct federal resources to clean up contaminated sites and limit the spread of these dangerous substances. The bill requires EPA to list PFOA and PFAS each within one year, as well as requires EPA to make a determination on the remaining PFAS chemicals not later than five years giving time to collect more date on this class of chemicals.

Also passed by the Committee, is legislation Dingell co-led with Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI). The PFAS Federal Facility Accountability Act, that requires federal agencies to cooperate with states as PFAS contamination is detected in communities near federal installations such as active military installations, former military installations, or National Guard facilities.  Many other bills were also included in HR 535, including HR 2377, the Protect Drinking Water from PFAS Act of 2019; HR 2533, the Providing Financial Assistance for Safe Drinking Water Act; HR 2566, a bill to require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to revise the Safer Choice Standard to provide for a Safer Choice label for pots, pans, and cooking utensils that do not contain PFAS; HR 2577, the PFAS Right-To-Know Act; HR 2591, the PFAS Waste Incineration Ban Act; HR 2596, the Protecting Communities from New PFAS Act; HR 2600, the Toxic PFAS Control Act; HR 2605, the Prevent Release of Toxics Emissions, Contamination, and Transfer Act of 2019, HR 2608, the PFAS Testing Act of 2019; and HR 2638, a bill to direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to issue guidance on minimizing the use of firefighting foam containing PFAS.

According to the Environmental Working Group, 297 military sites across the United States have PFAS contamination and as many as 110 million Americans are drinking PFAS contaminated water. In July, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes three amendments by Dingell to address PFAS contamination. The amendments designate PFAS as a hazardous substance for the purpose of clean up under the EPA’s Superfund Program, ban the use of PFAS in materials used to produce MRE’s consumed by service men and women in the field and during training, and require military instillations to cooperate with states as PFAS contamination is detected near these facilities.

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