House Advances PFAS Bill, Municipal Groups Send Letter Outlining Concerns
The U.S. House of Representatives advanced legislation this week, The PFAS Action Act of 2021 (H.R. 2467), that directs EPA to list certain PFAS substances as hazardous materials under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) – also knows as the Superfund law. Unfortunately, the legislation did not include important exemptions and protections for the municipal water sector that would protect utilities from costly PFAS cleanups
NACWA has long supported a “polluter pays” model to address PFAS, ensuring that the manufactures who made and profited from the chemicals bear the cost of cleanup. NACWA has also supported use of CERCLA to accomplish this polluter pays approach, but has made clear any Congressional action must also include an exemption for municipal clean water utilities under CERCLA so that these utilities do not get stuck with cleanup costs that should instead go to manufacturers.
NACWA joined with the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, and other municipal and water groups this week on a letter to Congress opposing H.R. 2467 because it does not include the necessary liability protections for water utilities.
The path forward for the legislation in the Senate is uncertain, and NACWA and its partners will continue to advocate in Congress around the need for clear liability protections from PFAS for clean water utilities. Members with questions about NACWA’s PFAS advocacy can contact Kristina Surfus or Emily Remmel on NACWA staff.