Congressional Hearing Reveals PFAS to be a Major Legislative Concern

(May 29, 2019) - The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) held a legislative hearing on May 22, to consider numerous bills for addressing PFAS concerns that have been introduced this congressional session.

The hearing follows a similar hearing in the US House Energy & Commerce Committee the week prior, which has jurisdiction over drinking water issues. NACWA and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) collaborated to submit a joint statement for the hearing to reflect the concerns and asks of the clean water sector.

With more than 20 bills introduced so far in the House and Senate to respond to PFAS concerns—some of which could impact clean water utilities—Association staff have been closely tracking the issue in Congress and meeting with key Hill offices to discuss potential impacts to clean water utilities and potential paths forward.

In his opening remarks, EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) noted how “entities like wastewater treatment facilities and landfills are often unknowing recipients of PFAS.” The hearing underscored how there are Senators from both sides of the aisle who are highly motivated to advance legislation on PFAS, particularly those Senators from states where acute local groundwater contamination issues have been identified.

The hearing also demonstrated that consensus hasn’t been reached on the best approach that legislation should take. EPW, led by Chairman Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE), plans to continue considering the best path forward.

NACWA will stay engaged and keep membership informed. For more information, contact Kristina Surfus, NACWA Legislative Director.