The U.S. House of Representatives on January 10 passed H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act, to clean up communities affected by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.
The bill includes two bipartisan amendments co-led by Environment Subcommittee Chairman Harley Rouda:
- The first makes it illegal for industrial facilities to introduce PFAS into sewage treatment systems without first disclosing information about those substances.
- The second requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator to review and develop effluent standards, pretreatment standards and water quality criteria for PFAS under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as well as authorizing $100 million in federal grants for each year from 2021 through 2025 to publicly owned treatment works to implement pretreatment standards.
“I am pleased the House passed this critical bill to protect the health and safety of all Americans,” said Rouda in a statement. “My subcommittee has been investigating the devastating health effects of these toxic ‘forever chemicals’ for more than 10 months, and it is crystal clear that the federal regulation of PFAS chemicals and action to clean up contaminated sites are crucial and long overdue. This bill will finally establish regulations to help shield our constituents from these dangerous and deadly chemicals and address this national emergency.”
Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney also applauded passage of the bill and Rouda’s leadership on this issue.
“Chairman Rouda and the Environment Subcommittee have not only held corporations accountable for their complicity in this crisis but have given us a chance to hear from those whose lives have been forever changed by the toxic chemicals,” said Maloney in a statement. “I am proud of Chairman Rouda’s work on this issue, and I know the subcommittee, with the support of the full committee, will continue to fight to ensure that every single American has the right to clean water, and that anyone who violates that right is held accountable.”
Now, however, the bill faces an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. And even if it passes the Senate, the bill is facing a veto threat from the White House.
The Hill reported that the White House announced on January 7 that President Trump would likely veto legislation designed to manage PFAS from leaching into the water supply.