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What They Are Saying: EPA Announces Proposed Decision to Regulate PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water

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WASHINGTON (Feb. 21, 2020) — Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took another important step in implementing the Agency’s PFAS Action Plan by proposing regulatory determinations for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water. These preliminary determinations mark a key milestone in EPA’s extensive efforts under the PFAS Action Plan to help communities address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) nationwide. Here's what government officials are saying:

Chairman John Barrasso, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (WY): “EPA’s decision to move forward with an enforceable drinking water standard is good news for communities battling pollution from PFOA and PFOS. It’s an important step toward fulfilling the objectives of the agency’s PFAS Action Plan. Last year, the Senate passed legislation which included a requirement for EPA to set a drinking water standard for these two chemicals. The bill passed with broad bipartisan support. While President Trump signed most of the Senate bill into law, House Democrats refused to include the provisions requiring an enforceable drinking water standard. EPA’s announcement makes clear the administration will carry on the work to protect the public.”

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (WV): “Setting drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS has been a legislative priority of mine for years, including in leading bipartisan legislation to require them. I applaud the EPA and Administrator Wheeler for starting the process to finally regulate these legacy ‘forever’ chemicals and provide Americans the certainty that the water they drink, cook and wash with, and bathe in is free of these harmful compounds. West Virginia is all too familiar with the challenges of PFAS contamination, and now communities around the country are realizing they also have challenges from PFAS pollution. Setting maximum contaminant levels for these two compounds is an essential step in addressing this human health and environmental issue and I look forward to continuing to work with the EPA to ensure standards are robust, scientifically-driven, and issued in a timely fashion.”       

House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) and Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change Republican Leader John Shimkus (R-IL): “This is an important step forward under both the EPA’s PFAS Action Plan and the Safe Drinking Water Act to address PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. Administrator Wheeler, the hardworking Agency staff, and Republicans on this committee are all focused on protecting the environment and the public through a deliberative approach based on high-quality science. We look forward to following the Agency’s progress to issuing a final regulatory determination and in ensuring communities across the country are protected.”  

Ranking Member of the Environment Subcommittee, House Committee on Oversight and Reform James Comer (KY-01): “Today’s announcement from U.S. EPA to propose regulatory determinations for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water is a crucial step forward to provide Americans with clean, safe drinking water. Clean drinking water is something we should strive to provide for all Americans, and I’m pleased to see that EPA is taking a science-based approach to regulating these chemicals.”

Oklahoma Secretary of Energy & Environment Kenneth Wagner: “This announcement and delivery of the PFAS Action Plan is an important step forward. Administrator Wheeler’s emphasis of developing risk communication tools and strategy is so important for the citizens of Oklahoma. Our hope is that  any regulatory framework is built using sound science rather than fear. Thanks to the EPA for recognizing the need to protect our citizens while balancing the unintended costs to small rural water systems.” 

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Cabinet Secretary Austin Caperton: “We are very pleased that the EPA, with its huge research resources, is addressing this issue in a sound, scientific manner. We are in the process of gathering data in West Virginia regarding potential exposure so that we are prepared to act if necessary when a final determination of safe levels is made by the EPA. We continue to work closely with Administrator Wheeler and his staff on this most important matter.”