House passes sweeping PFAS protections: 2025 ban on military use, Superfund cleanup and clean water safeguards
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House approved a host of provisions today to address widespread drinking water contamination from toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The annual defense spending bill would phase out the military’s use of PFAS-containing firefighting foams by 2025 — a major source of drinking water contamination. The bill would also designate all PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under Superfund and toxic pollutants under the Clean Water Act, spurring cleanup and reducing discharges into waterways, respectively.
Bart Johnsen-Harris, clean water advocate for Environment America, issued the following statement:
“Today marks a big win for the millions of Americans who have been drinking water contaminated with toxic PFAS chemicals. We commend the House for taking critical action on this pressing issue.
“Both chambers have now incorporated our request to rapidly phase out the military’s use of PFAS. This is what communities and service members deserve. The House wants this phaseout by 2025, while the Senate says 2023. We are gratified to see this Congressional race to the top.
“Other pieces of this bill, like Superfund designation, would grant the EPA additional resources to clean up contamination and could hold companies financially accountable for their PFAS pollution. Companies that release these toxic chemicals should be held accountable for cleaning up the mess. The bill would further protect our communities by placing limits on toxic discharges into our waterways. Residents in states like West Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and New Jersey are all too familiar with direct dumping of these toxic chemicals into their waterways.
“We commend the work of Reps. Madeleine Dean, Debbie Dingell, Chris Pappas, Dan Kildee, Chairman Adam Smith and others to include these important provisions to protect our drinking water from PFAS. As Congress moves forward to reconcile the House and Senate bills, these three provisions should be priorities for the final package. Time is of the essence. Each day we delay is a day these poisons threaten our children.”