The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan PFAS Action Act on July 21. The bill will head to the Senate, where it enjoys bipartisan support but faces obstacles from some Senate Republicans. Representatives Dingell and Upton of Michigan co-sponsored the legislation in response to the crisis of PFAS contamination across the country. Representatives Slotkin, Pallone, Hoyer, Hudson, Rouzer, Fitzpatrick and Kildee helped lead the charge. Congresswomen Dingell and Slotkin represent districts that include large areas of the Huron River watershed. Congressman Tim Walberg, who also represents a large area of the watershed, voted against the Act.
Among other provisions, the PFAS Action Act would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement a drinking water standard for PFAS, provide funding to municipal water systems, support cleanup efforts, and put in place standards for discharging PFAS into the environment. It would also provide specific guidance for first responders to limit their potential exposure in emergency situations.
Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin proposed three amendments to the Act that were accepted as a part of the entire package. The amendments would 1) improve EPA communication resources to include information on how residents can test private household well water, 2) increase funding for local communities to $500 million annually for the next five years to cover the cost of PFAS treatment, and 3) expand the PFAS-Free Product Labeling Program, which would require the EPA to improve labeling for certain products to help consumers avoid PFAS exposure.
Michigan’s U.S. delegation has shown bipartisan leadership on PFAS. Senator Gary Peters has taken pragmatic steps in the Senate and has been vocal about protecting residents from PFAS. Senator Debbie Stabenow also supports the PFAS Action Act.
The measures included in the Act are welcome, critical first steps to protecting people and wildlife. PFAS are highly toxic “forever chemicals” that are pervasive in the environment and are present in the Huron River. There are very few essential needs to use PFAS, and we need to stop using them except in critical applications where there is no suitable replacement.
The PFAS Action Act would set the initial standards to keep some of the most widespread PFAS compounds out of the environment and away from people.
Please take a moment to thank your watershed representative and Senator for their support for the PFAS Action Act.
You can also Tweet your thanks to:
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell:@RepDebDingell
Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: @RepSlotkin
Senator Debbie Stabenow: @SenStabenow
Senator Gary Peters: @SenGaryPeters
PFAS are a family of thousands of toxic, synthetic chemicals associated with many health problems. PFAS pollution is widespread. PFAS have been found in the Huron River and many watersheds across the country. Learn more at HRWC.org/PFAS.