February 21, 2024
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Biden-Harris Administration Proposes First-Ever National Standards to Combat PFAS in Drinking Water
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Biden-Harris Administration Proposes First-Ever National Standards to Combat PFAS in Drinking Water

Yesterday the Biden-Harris Administration announced new action to protect communities from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pollution. The first-ever national standard to address PFAS contamination in drinking water delivers on President Biden’s commitment to protecting public health and advancing environmental justice. And it builds on two years of action to ensure every community has access […]

The post WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Biden-Harris Administration Proposes First-Ever National Standards to Combat PFAS in Drinking Water first appeared on Social Gov.

Yesterday the Biden-Harris Administration announced new action to protect communities from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pollution. The first-ever national standard to address PFAS contamination in drinking water delivers on President Biden’s commitment to protecting public health and advancing environmental justice. And it builds on two years of action to ensure every community has access to clean drinking water, free of chemicals and pollutants that harm the health and wellbeing of children, families, and communities.

EPA anticipates the first-ever PFAS drinking water standard would prevent thousands of deaths and reduce tens of thousands of serious PFAS-attributable illnesses.

This morning, Americans in Michigan, Colorado, North Carolina, and elsewhere saw local coverage – including front page stories in more than three dozen local papers – of EPA’s new standard for “forever chemicals,” which clean water advocates are calling “a huge win for public health.”

Leaders from across the country praised the announcement. Here’s what they’re saying:

Clean Water Advocates

Mark Ruffalo, Climate Advocate and Actor: “After decades of delay, President Biden’s EPA has delivered a drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS which, when finalized, will be the toughest in the nation. By proposing to regulate four other PFAS as a mixture, the Biden EPA is also putting our communities ahead of the polluters. President Biden and his team pledged to make PFAS a priority and he has delivered. No Administration has done more to address the urgent threat posed by these toxic forever chemicals than the Biden Administration. My message to polluters is simple: after poisoning your workers and neighbors for decades, it is time to make our public health, not your profits, our top priority. My message to communities devastated by PFAS pollution is equally simple: help is finally on the way.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Madeleine Foote, Deputy Legislative Director, League of Conservation Voters: “These first-ever national drinking water standards are a huge win for communities all across the country whose health has been jeopardized by toxic ‘forever chemicals.’ We commend the Biden-Harris administration for following the science that continues to link PFAS to health problems including certain cancers, thyroid disease, neurological development issues, weakened immune systems, and more. Chemical companies have known and hidden the risks that PFAS pose to our health and environment for decades, and we must ensure that the costs of these critical safeguards fall on them, not consumers, and that they are held accountable for the damage they have done. We urge the administration to quickly finalize these important drinking water protections and continue taking other actions, like imposing limits on additional PFAS, to protect our health from these dangerous chemicals.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Dr. Anna Reade, Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council: “Regulating these six highly toxic PFAS chemicals in drinking water is a historic start to protecting our families and communities. In addition to setting strict standards for two legacy toxic forever chemicals, EPA is proposing an innovative first step toward addressing PFAS as a class in drinking water. We cannot safeguard public health until we get off this toxic treadmill of regulating one PFAS at a time when thousands of other PFAS remain unregulated. PFAS chemicals can be highly toxic at extremely low levels and exposure has been linked to a long list of health effects, including cancer, immune suppression, and developmental harms. Our most vulnerable community members, especially children and pregnant people, are especially at risk from PFAS chemicals.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Jonathan Kalmuss-Katz, Attorney, Earthjustice: “For the millions of people with PFAS in their tap water, strong national drinking water standards cannot come soon enough. Today’s proposal is a necessary and long overdue step towards addressing the nation’s PFAS crisis, but what comes next is equally important. EPA must resist efforts to weaken this proposal, move quickly to finalize health-protective limits on these six chemicals, and address the remaining PFAS that continue to poison drinking water supplies and harm communities across the country.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Emily Donovan, Co-Founder, Clean Cape Fear: “Everyone deserves access to health-protective drinking water. It is a basic human right. We applaud the Biden EPA for having the courage to do what multiple administrations could not. Today is a good step towards tackling our nation’s massive PFAS public health crisis by including commercially relevant PFAS like GenX. We now need every office within the EPA and all other federal agencies to use a whole of government approach to address PFAS as a class, stop all exposures at their source, make responsible parties pay for the clean-up, and give overexposed communities access to health monitoring.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Laurene Allen, Co-founder, Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water: “The EPA delivered what no previous administration has done by taking an immense first step in addressing our nation’s PFAS contamination in drinking water crisis. By regulating these toxic chemicals on a federal level, the EPA has ensured that a community’s exposure and health risks will no longer be ignored and no longer differ by state.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Linda Robles, Founder, Environmental Justice Task Force: “We are overwhelmed with joy at EPA’s new proposed PFAS drinking water standards. EPA is proposing to regulate six PFAS chemicals in our drinking water, including PFOA and PFOS, and will consider cumulative risk impacts of multiple mixtures of the toxic chemicals. People in our south-side Tucson community drink, bathe and cook with water contaminated by PFAS because we can’t afford to leave our homes and relocate at the drop of a dime. The harm caused to our health by PFAS contamination in our drinking water transcends generations.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Sarah Woodbury, Director of Advocacy, Defend Our Health: “We applaud the EPA for taking action to set strong standards for PFAS in drinking water to stem this direct threat to public health. We have seen the serious impacts of PFAS drinking water contamination here in Maine. It’s tragic that some Mainers were exposed for years to unsafe levels of these so-called ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water. If approved, the EPA’s new drinking water standards will protect the health of thousands of Mainers across the state. Maine has been a leader on the issue of PFAS contamination and our current interim MCL’s are some of the lowest in the country.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Anthony Spaniola, Co-Chair, Great Lakes PFAS Action Network: “The EPA’s proposed drinking water standards are an important milestone in the fight to protect public health and will save lives in impacted communities on the front lines of the PFAS crisis. This is an A+ decision by the Biden Administration for front line communities. We urge that the proposed drinking water standards be adopted and implemented with all deliberate speed.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Cheryl Cail, Idle No More South Carolina: “Today the EPA has demonstrated that it will take the necessary steps to address the harms PFAS has caused to human health and our environment. We know this will be a long and arduous road ahead, as there have been many decades of environmental injustice for those who have not been heard. The shift to hear from all voices has had an incredible impact, and we will continue to support the Environmental Justice work of the EPA as we advocate for clean water for all and a healthier planet.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Joanne Stanton and Hope Grosse, Co-founders, Buxmont Coalition for Safer Water: “We at Buxmont Coalition for Safer Water have been working for PFAS federal drinking water regulations for nearly a decade now. We have seen the devastating impacts these toxic chemicals have had on the health of children in our community. We are grateful for the strong action the EPA has taken to protect the health of America’s unborn babies; pre-polluted with these toxic chemicals before they ever take their first breathe. This is long awaited good news! We are so thankful that the EPA has taken such strong action to protect our nations drinking water from these toxic chemicals. This drinking water standard will save lives, preventing cancer and other PFAS related diseases that have plagued our local community for decades. It also sends a strong message to polluters that there is no SAFE level for these toxic chemicals. This is a historic day!” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Loreen Hackett, PFOA Project New York: “Having been dealing with PFAS since our water was found severely contaminated in 2014, and with all of our advocacy since, regulations at these lower levels certainly have been a long time coming and are most gratifying. We are pleased to have an EPA who listened, gave affected communities a seat at the table, which we’d never had before, and followed through in the necessity to protect the health of all families from these harmful chemicals.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Scott Faber, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group: “Today’s announcement by the EPA is historic progress. More than 200 million Americans could have PFAS in their tap water. Americans have been drinking contaminated water for decades. This proposal is a critical step toward getting these toxic poisons out of our water.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Andrea Amico, Co-Founder, Testing for Pease: “EPA’s strong new limits for these six PFAS chemicals will prevent serious illnesses and save lives. EPA must keep its momentum. Almost 9 years ago, I learned my family was drinking highly contaminated water with PFAS. It devastated me and I knew more needed to be done to prevent others from being exposed to PFAS. The MCLs announcement from the EPA today is life changing and life saving and I’m deeply grateful for this bold and much needed action.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s Environment Campaigns Director: “Pervasive PFAS should be a thing of the past and this EPA proposal puts us on the right path. Too many Americans are exposed every day to these ubiquitous chemicals that lurk around our house and in our pipes. Saying ‘nevermore’ to ‘forever chemicals’ in our drinking water is the right thing to do. These new standards are a realistic way to start that process.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Arthur Bowman III, Policy Director, Center for Environmental Health: “With drinking water standards, we can finally begin to ‘turn off the tap’ of these toxic forever chemicals. This is a victory for the Black and Indigenous and other community-based organizations that pressured EPA to do something about decades of PFAS contamination.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Dr. Elizabeth Southerland, Former EPA Director of Science and Technology: “This proposed rule is an historic milestone under the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act for two reasons. First, when finalized, these will be the first new standards since EPA updated the arsenic standard in 2001. Second, EPA is proposing to regulate four PFAS chemicals that co-occur in drinking water as a mixture, avoiding the need for individual drinking water standards for each chemical. The mixture approach requires treatment when one or more of these chemicals at a drinking water facility alone or in combination pose a health risk. This is a critically needed approach for PFAS forever chemicals that include more than 12,000 individual compounds. EPA is also proposing that PFOA and PFOS must each be at or below analytical detection levels. This is the most stringent standard EPA can impose and is based on the best available science and the detection limit of EPA’s analytical method. The public health benefits of these protective drinking water standards dwarf the costs of achieving them, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law offsets those costs with billions of dollars for small or disadvantaged communities to address PFAS.” [Statement, 3/14/23]
 
Elected Officials

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: “I’ve long pushed for national standards to limit toxic PFAS in drinking water, and I secured $10B in our infrastructure law for PFAS clean-up. The Biden @EPA’s proposed PFAS standard is a great step forward. I won’t stop fighting to keep Americans’ drinking water safe from PFAS.” [Tweet, 3/14/23]

Delaware Senator Tom Carper, Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works: “For years, the presence of toxic forever chemicals in our drinking water has threatened the health and well-being of far too many communities across our nation. Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, EPA is taking a significant step forward in addressing PFAS contamination with today’s announcement. I’m beyond proud of Administrator Regan and the leadership at EPA for proposing a science-based, national drinking water standard that prioritizes public health. Additionally, I look forward to working with the Biden administration on moving this standard through the regulatory process without delay.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works: “After years of urging three consecutive administrations of different parties to do so, I’m pleased a safe drinking water standard has finally been issued for PFOA and PFOS. I’m looking forward to hearing from those who will be impacted by this announcement, including local water systems and ratepayers across the country, on how we can provide assistance for implementation. No one should have to wonder if their water is safe to drink, and it’s critical that we get this important regulation right.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen: “I applaud Administrator Regan and President Biden for taking this bold step forward that will help ensure our water is safe for New Hampshire families and that parents have the peace of mind they deserve when they turn on the tap. This has long been a top concern for me and is why as a lead negotiator of the water provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I fought to include a historic level of funding – $10 billion – to combat PFAS exposure. These dollars will be crucial in providing our municipalities with the resources they will need to comply with these new regulations so that together we can prioritize clean water for our communities.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan: “Granite Staters know all too well the dangers of PFAS chemicals, which is why I’ve pushed the administration and my colleagues in Congress to help communities make real progress in addressing hazardous PFAS contamination. The proposed rule creates strong, enforceable drinking water limits for PFAS, and is an important step forward in ensuring that every household has access to clean, safe, and reliable drinking water. I will keep working with the administration and in Congress to combat dangerous PFAS contamination.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: “This is a major victory for New York families. I’ve been calling for the EPA to set limits on toxic, cancer-causing PFAS chemicals in our water for years. And finally, they’re taking the steps needed to ensure that every family has the safe, clean drinking water they deserve.” [Tweet, 3/14/23]

Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen: “For years many of us have sounded the alarm on PFAS pollution. These ‘forever chemicals’ threaten the wellbeing of our children, families & communities — we must do everything we can to get them out of our drinking water. This is a historic & necessary move from @EPA.” [Tweet, 3/14/23]

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin: “In a major move to control PFAS exposure, the Biden Admin & @EPA proposed the first-ever national and legally enforceable limit on PFAS in drinking water. This will protect communities from serious illnesses and health problems caused by these forever chemicals.” [Tweet, 3/14/23]

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth: “I applaud the EPA for taking historic action to protect more communities from these six chemicals that we know jeopardize our public health and the environment. Every American deserves safe, clean drinking water. And I’ll keep working every day to make that a reality.” [Tweet, 3/14/23]

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: “Everyone deserves access to clean water. Very glad to see the @EPA taking an important step to limit PFAS and protect public health.” [Tweet, 3/14/23]

Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey: “The science is clear—PFAS is a growing problem in our waterways. @EPA’s proposal would set the first-ever national limits on PFAS in drinking water and be a major leap toward making these forever chemicals into never chemicals.” [Tweet, 3/14/23]

Pennsylvania Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Congressional PFAS Taskforce: “Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction as we work to prevent the future contamination of PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ in our water and I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to enforce a high standard of water quality.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee, Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Congressional PFAS Taskforce: “Access to safe, affordable and reliable drinking water should be a right, not a luxury. For far too long, the federal government has not acted to protect the American people from PFAS chemicals in our drinking water. After past presidents have failed to act, I applaud President Biden and his administration for proposing stronger drinking water standards. As co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, I will continue working with Republicans and Democrats to protect families from PFAS.” [Statement, 3/14/23]

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: “Today, @EPA took an important step in protecting drinking water with proposed action to establish a national drinking water standard for PFAS chemicals. I will continue working with EPA to ensure we’re keeping Americans safe from this growing & urgent public health threat.” [Tweet, 3/14/23]

Michigan Congresswoman Haley Stevens: “A major win for the environment and the American people! Today @EPA is proposing the first-ever national standard to limit PFAS in drinking water. Tackling and restricting PFAS will protect the health of hundreds of millions of people.” [Tweet, 3/14/23]

New Hampshire Congressman Chris Pappas: “Today @EPA took an essential step forward for public health by proposing a national standard to limit PFAS in drinking water. I’ll keep working to upgrade water infrastructure, hold polluters accountable, and set limits on industrial discharges of PFAS.” [Tweet, 3/14/23]

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Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/03/15/what-they-are-saying-biden-harris-administration-proposes-first-ever-national-standards-to-combat-pfas-in-drinking-water/

The post WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Biden-Harris Administration Proposes First-Ever National Standards to Combat PFAS in Drinking Water first appeared on Social Gov.

originally published at Politics - Social Gov