WASHINGTON — Congress is holding three hearings today to address widespread drinking water contamination from toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is discussing a set of 6 bipartisan bills, while the Committee on Armed Services holds a closed-door hearing to consider the military’s role in contamination. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce is simultaneously conducting a hearing on the LIFT America Act, a bill that would create a PFAS grant program for drinking water cleanup.
Bart Johnsen-Harris, clean water advocate for Environment America, issued the following statement:
“It’s encouraging to see lawmakers cross the aisle to tackle threats to the environment and public health together. Today’s hearings and the recent flurry of activity around PFAS demonstrate the public’s pervasive concern about these toxic chemicals. We urge Congress to adopt policies that truly keep our drinking water safe.
“Senators are promoting six bipartisan bills today, including the PFAS Action Act—which would make all PFAS chemicals eligible for cleanup under the Superfund program and hold polluters financially accountable for cleanup costs. Today’s Senate hearing on the National Defense Authorization Act also provides a key opportunity for lawmakers to require the Pentagon to stop any further drinking water contamination from PFAS use at military bases.
“In the House, the LIFT America Act would invest half a billion dollars each year in cleanup for drinking water systems contaminated with PFAS.
“In particular, we applaud the remarks today from Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (WV) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), highlighting the need for bipartisan action in order to protect drinking water for all Americans—and encouraging their peers to heed the call.
“Our rush to create an easy-to-clean pan does not justify cancer for our families and friends. Toxic drinking water shouldn’t be the price we pay for convenience. The best way to protect our water and our health is to phase out the entire class of toxic PFAS chemicals.”