WASHINGTON— Today the House of Representatives passed the PFAS Action Act to address the prevalence of PFAS chemicals in water sources across the country, ensure proper cleanup of contaminated sites, and limit the introduction of new PFAS sources into new commercial products. The bill would require the EPA to set a PFAS drinking water standard to protect public health, require new testing and reporting regimens, and require cleanup of impacted areas.
The legislation included language from an amendment previously cosponsored by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva to allow for the reimbursement of communities that have had to spend their own money to clean up PFAS contamination in their communities, like Tucson.
“Today’s legislation is a positive step toward addressing PFAS contaminants in drinking water, limiting exposure to PFAS chemicals, and spurring the cleanup of impacted communities,” said Rep. Grijalva. “Everyone should feel confident that the water they use in their homes is free from dangerous contaminants, and this legislation will finally push the EPA to put a standard on the books to protect the public health of our communities. Communities like Tucson have spent millions cleaning up PFAS contaminants, and I’m pleased this legislation includes provisions I supported to reimburse them for their efforts.”
Many PFAS contamination locations are located near sites associated with the Department of Defense. Tucson has faced PFAS contamination from the Davis Monthan Air Force Base and has spent millions of Tucson Water ratepayer dollars to decontaminate the water and ensure its safety for residents. Despite their role in the contamination, the Department of Defense and the Federal Government have refused to comprehensively address the contamination issue.
“Setting a national drinking water standard for PFAS is a critical step towards initiating the large-scale clean-up efforts that are needed in the Tucson region and communities across the country where PFAS contamination exists,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “I thank our Tucson-area Congressional Delegation for their tireless advocacy to ensure that Tucson Water ratepayers have a clean water supply for generations to come and are not stuck with the bill for a problem that they did not create. I also want to thank Congressman Grijalva for his efforts to secure language that will ensure reimbursement to the municipalities – including Tucson Water – that have acted swiftly and expended local resources to address this issue.”
Rep. Grijalva has worked for years to address the PFAS issue and ensure impacted communities receive the funds they need for adequate cleanup. He voted in 2020 for the PFAS Action Act to regulate PFAS chemicals and cosponsored an amendment to the legislation that would reimburse impacted communities like Tucson for past cleanup efforts while supporting the installation of treatment technologies and infrastructure needed to clean the water. Additionally, he submitted testimony to the House Armed Services Committee to include PFAS remediation funding in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2021.
“Our communities cannot wait any longer for the Department of Defense to finally take responsibility for the contamination caused under their watch,” continued Rep. Grijalva. “I urge the Senate to take up this legislation immediately, recognize the severity of PFAS, and help facilitate a speedy and urgent cleanup.”