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Political promises for PFAS policies remain steady amidst EPA actions

Courtesy of the North Carolina National Guard

Michigan congresswoman Debbie Dingell held a briefing today to discuss the next steps for federal action on PFAS, a class of toxic “forever chemicals.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued what some call “historic wins” in addressing PFAS in just the last few months.

The EPA’s most recent proposal to designate two PFAS compounds as “hazardous substances” is another move to regulate the chemicals at the federal level.

Congresswoman Dingell said movement from the EPA should not deter policymakers from pursuing their own actions against PFAS.

“We plan on holding the EPA accountable to that timeline," Dingell said. "Since I got to Congress, I have been promised there will be a drinking water standard. And we still do not have a drinking water standard. It is time for this to get done.”

Robert Bilott is an environmental attorney. Even with the EPA’s steps to regulate PFAS, he said federal policy is still important in cutting through the red tape.

“That’s why you see a lot of legislation being proposed to cut through that and simply say we are, as a matter of law, going to declare these hazardous under the superfund law,” Billot said.

The EPA plans to implement the “hazardous” designation next fall. If enacted, the EPA will have more oversight in how two PFAS compounds are used, disposed, and cleaned up.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.
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