Mar 1 2019

The bill would designate PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under our environmental protection laws

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) within one year of enactment declare per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances eligible for cleanup funds under the EPA Superfund law, and also enable a requirement that polluters undertake or pay for remediation. 

Joining Tillis are Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Gary Peters (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jack Reed (D-RI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Burr (R-NC), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) led the introduction of companion legislation in the House of Representatives earlier this Congress.

“North Carolina has had a long and tragic history with toxic water contamination, and many North Carolina families are rightfully concerned about PFAS and GenX. I’m committed to protecting North Carolinians and ensuring our communities have clean water from the ground to the tap. That is why I am joining my colleagues in this bipartisan effort that would require the EPA to designate PFAS as a hazardous substance, enhancing efforts to clean up existing sites and prevent future contamination,” said Senator Tillis.

“In the recently released PFAS Action Plan, EPA restated its promise to declare PFAS as hazardous substances, but did not indicate how long it would take to fulfill that promise,” said Senator Carper. “This is an issue that must be addressed with urgency—and that’s why this bill is so important. Designating these chemicals has hazardous substances will, at a minimum, start the process to ensuring contaminated sites across the country are cleaned up, and Americans are safer from the threat posed by these emerging contaminants. This is not the only measure needed to address the broader contamination problems, but it’s a start, and I’m proud this legislation has strong bipartisan support.”

“As we’ve learned, certain types of PFAS pollution can have serious consequences when it comes to the environment and to public health and safety. That’s something we need to address,” said Senator Capito. “Our bill will help provide resources for PFAS pollution cleanup and will make it possible to hold those responsible for it accountable. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan legislation with Senator Carper and will continue working with my colleagues, EPA, and others to resolve the issue more broadly.”

On February 14, 2019, EPA released its PFAS Action Plan. The plan included a commitment by EPA to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA. Clear and swift action from Congress to list PFAS as hazardous substances under CERCLA would advance the action already proposed by EPA, enabling the agency to protect human health and the environment in an expeditious manner.  

To see the full text of the bill, click HERE.