Advocacy Alert

**UPDATED** Urgent Call to Action: Tell Senate Leadership to Support S. 1430 for PFAS Liability Protection

Mar 12, 2024

Dear NACWA Members,

We are pleased to share that next week, NACWA Board Member and General Counsel of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, Michael Witt, will be testifying before the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee (EPW) on behalf of the Water Coalition Against PFAS on the critical need to protect passive receivers of PFAS from liability under CERCLA. As we prepare for the hearing, EPW has emphasized that letters sent directly from clean water agencies are helping move this conversation forward. So to those that have engaged – on behalf of utilities everywhere, thank you!

If you have not reached out recently to your Senators about the importance of providing water and wastewater utilities with critical liability protections under CERCLA – so that polluters, and not communities, ultimately pay – it is critical that you do by March 18 in advance of the hearing. Please see NACWA’s recent call to action below for more info:

Urgent Call to Action: Tell Senate Leadership to Support S. 1430 for PFAS Liability Protection

EPA's proposed designation of PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA without liability protection for water systems - which could be finalized this spring - presents a daunting challenge for our sector, potentially placing the financial burden of environmental cleanup on utilities and their ratepayers, rather than on the polluters responsible for the contamination. This move could significantly impact our ability to provide affordable clean water services.

The introduction of S. 1430, the Water Systems PFAS Liability Protection Act, by Sen. Cynthia Lummis, is a critical development. This pivotal legislation aims to preserve the essential "polluter pays" principle of CERCLA, ensuring that water utilities are shielded from CERCLA liability for PFAS. By supporting S. 1430, we can protect water systems from undue liability and continue our mission of delivering clean water services without the looming threat of PFAS litigation.

Here's How You Can Help:

Reach Out to Your Senators by March 18: Please send the attached letter urging your Senate delegation and Senate leadership to support S. 1430. Feel free to personalize the letter with insights from your own utility, or just send the letter as is. In addition to reaching out to your two Senate offices, it is important to also urge the support of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (you can direct a letter to Majority Leader Schumer to tim_ryder@schumer.senate.gov). NACWA and our partners in the Water Coalition Against PFAS – including AMWA, AWWA, WEF, NAWC, and NRWA – have heard directly from key Senate offices that they are seeing significant opposition to any CERCLA protections for water systems and that Senate Leadership needs to hear strong, direct utility support for S. 1430. As a community, we must ensure that the opponents of this legislation are not the dominant voices reaching the Senate.

Please ensure you inform NACWA of your outreach on S. 1430, either by copying Danielle Cloutier (dcloutier@nacwa.org) or by sharing your letter with us after it is sent.

We’re Here to Help: If you need help identifying the right point of contact within Senate offices, NACWA is ready to assist. Our team can provide guidance and support to ensure your voice is heard where it matters most. Don't hesitate to reach out for assistance in making your advocacy efforts as effective as possible.

Spread the Word: Share this call to action with your colleagues, peers, and within your network. The more voices that echo this message, the stronger our impact will be. Together we can emphasize the importance of protecting water systems and ratepayers from undue PFAS cleanup liability and maintaining the "polluter pays" principle.

Our collective action can make a difference. By supporting S. 1430, we reaffirm our commitment to environmental stewardship and public health, ensuring that water utilities remain focused on their vital mission rather than bearing the cost of PFAS contamination. By sending the attached letter, you can help ensure the Senate fully appreciates the impact CERCLA will have on public utilities and the communities you are charged with protecting.

Thank you for your action and support for this critical advocacy effort. Please reach out to Danielle Cloutier or any member of NACWA’s legislative team with questions or to discuss further.  

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