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In Case You Missed It: "EPA Chief Vows That Clean Drinking Water Is National Priority"

Pruitt's PFAS Action Plan Draws Widespread Praise

05/22/2018
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Today, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt outlined four substantive measures to ensure the eradication of PFAS from our nation's drinking water, as EPA kicked off the PFAS National Leadership Summit. 

EPA Four-Step Action Plan: 

  1. EPA will initiate steps to evaluate the need for a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS. We will convene our federal partners and examine everything we know about PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.
  2. EPA is beginning the necessary steps to propose designating PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances” through one of the available statutory mechanisms, including potentially CERCLA Section 102.
  3. EPA is currently developing groundwater cleanup recommendations for PFOA and PFOS at contaminated sites and will complete this task by fall of this year. 
  4. EPA is taking action in close collaboration with our federal and state partners to develop toxicity values for GenX and PFBS

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What They Are Saying About EPA's Push To Clean Our Nation's Drinking Water

The Wall Street Journal: EPA Chief Vows That Clean Drinking Water Is ‘National Priority’
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said Tuesday that keeping chemical contamination out of drinking water is “a national priority” and announced a four-part plan to address dangers from one group of potentially hazardous chemicals.

Mr. Pruitt said he takes the issue of contamination from the chemicals very seriously… “It’s clear that this issue is a national priority,” Mr. Pruitt said.

“I’ll work with you to make sure we take action and not just raise awareness over these next couple months,” Mr. Pruitt told the officials.

Politico: EPA To Formally Consider Drinking Water Regulation Of PFAS
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said this morning that EPA will formally consider whether to set a limit on the amount of the chemicals PFOA and PFOS allowed in drinking water, the first step under the law toward regulation.

"We will take the next step under the Safe Drinking Water Act process to evaluate the need for a Maximum Contaminant Level for PFOA and PFOS," Pruitt said in opening remarks to a two-day summit on the chemicals.

"It’s something that has been talked about for a number of years. The process needs to begin," he said.

Under the federal drinking water law, EPA must consider not just the dangers of a contaminant, but also how widespread it is in drinking water supplies and the costs of treating water to remove it before it can set a limit. The agency has not successfully regulated a new contaminant under the law in more than two decades, when Congress placed additional requirements on the agency for setting new regulations.

Making a regulatory determination for PFOA and PFOS was one of several steps Pruitt said the agency plans to take on the chemicals. Additionally, he said EPA is developing groundwater cleanup regulations for the two chemicals for contaminated sites, and taking steps to establish liability under the Superfund law so responsible parties can be held liable for cleanup.

Pruitt also said the agency will establish toxicity values for two other PFAS chemicals, including GenX. That work will be completed this summer.

ABC News: EPA Will Move To Label Chemical Found In Drinking Water 'Hazardous'

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt says the agency will move to regulate as "hazardous" a type of harmful chemical found in the drinking water of millions of Americans, calling it a "national priority."

Pruitt said Tuesday that the agency has a four-step plan for labeling the chemicals as hazardous and setting a maximum level for when it needs to be cleaned up. But the announcement was partly overshadowed after the Associated Press and other news outlets said their reporters were not allowed into the event.

"As we've used those chemicals over the course of many decades there are concerns across the country about these chemicals because of the persistence, their durability getting into the environment and impacting communities in an adverse way. That's the reason we're here today," Pruitt said in remarks at a summit on PFAS chemicals at the EPA on Tuesday.

Fayetteville Observer: EPA To Set GenX Toxicity Value
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will develop a toxicity value for the potential carcinogen GenX and related compounds, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced at a national leadership summit in Washington this morning. Representatives from North Carolina and more than 39 other states are attending the two-day summit on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS.

The EPA announced an action plan for containing PFAS that it expects to take following the summit. Among the actions it plans:

  • Initiate steps to evaluate the need for a maximum contaminant level for PFOA, an acronym for perfluorooctanoic acid, and PFOS, short for perfluorooctane sulfonate. Both substances have eight carbon chains and are known as legacy compounds. State regulators have found both compounds in wells surrounding the Fayetteville Works Plant.
  • Begin steps to propose designating PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances.”
  • The EPA is developing groundwater cleanup recommendations for PFOA and PFOS at contaminated sites and will complete the task by fall.

Detroit Free PressSummit, State Visits Will Lead To National Plan To Manage PFAS
EPA is listening to the public’s concerns. We are providing the national leadership necessary to bring together stakeholders to improve our understanding of these chemicals. This week’s summit builds on EPA-issued health advisories for PFOA and PFOS – two specific PFAS chemicals – based on peer-reviewed science, ongoing scientific research and collaboration with our federal and state partners. EPA is also taking action to develop health toxicity values for GenX and PFBS, two additional PFAS chemicals. Together these actions, among others the agency has outlined on its website, will help put the right tools in the hands of our federal, state, local and tribal partners. 

These actions demonstrate my vision for EPA and our commitment to protect public health and ensure all Americans have clean and safe drinking water. EPA is actively engaged with states and communities across the nation so that, from the federal to the local level, we can quickly respond to and address the environmental concerns of the American people. This is cooperative federalism in action. This is good and responsive government.

WNYT NBC Albany: Hoosick Falls Mayor Rob Allen Takes Part In EPA Summit
Hoosick Falls Mayor Rob Allen was visiting Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Allen is participating in an EPA summit.

EPA's chief says dealing with a widespread contaminant in drinking water is a national priority.