In the ongoing bid to address chemicals that have contaminated drinking water in dozens, if not hundreds, of communities nationwide, new bills addressing PFAS were introduced this week — and a congressional hearing on PFAS legislation was scheduled for next week.
“Let’s get all those solutions brought to the table and let’s thoroughly discuss them," said Rep. Paul Tonko (D., N.Y.), who chairs the environmental subcommittee that will hold the hearing Wednesday. He spoke in Montgomery County at a roundtable Monday hosted by Rep. Madeleine Dean (D., Pa.). “We hope we’re going to be able to move something this year.”
- ‘We have a serious problem’: Congressional task force visits Montco, pushes for action on tainted water
- State to start testing drinking water across Pa. within weeks; nearly 500 public water systems are near potential contamination sources
- ‘We’re moving as quickly as we can’: EPA announces plan to address PFAS water contamination
An analysis released this week by the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University showed 610 sites in 43 states are contaminated by PFAS. Of those sites, 17 were counted in Pennsylvania and 43 in New Jersey. Later this month, Pennsylvania officials are beginning a statewide testing program to determine how many more public water systems may be contaminated.
Lawmakers dealing with contamination in their local communities said this week they believed some PFAS bills could pass and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has promised to move them to a vote. Broadly, they seek to force the federal government — including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense — to quickly implement treatment, cleanup, and protection measures to remove the chemicals from the environment.
“It has fallen to Congress to advance policies that will reduce the threat of these toxic chemicals. Representatives from across the country are stepping up with important legislation to confront this crisis,” Tonko said in announcing the hearing.
Here’s a look at some of the bills the lawmakers may debate. Most have bipartisan support and are bicameral: