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Rep. Kildee: One Year After EPA PFAS Action Plan, Trump Administration Still Failing to Address Toxic Chemicals

February 14, 2020
Press Release

Trump Administration Continues to Delay, Block Real Progress on Addressing PFAS Chemicals

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and co-chair of the bipartisan PFAS Task Force, today called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to more urgently act to protect the American people from toxic levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

One year ago—on February 14, 2019—EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler unveiled EPA’s PFAS Action Plan, saying, “the PFAS Action Plan is the most comprehensive cross-agency plan to address an emerging chemical of concern ever undertaken by EPA.” But since then, the plan’s promises have largely gone unfulfilled, including:

  • A decision whether to regulate PFAS in drinking water has not been made public. In December 2019, EPA sent a proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on whether a drinking water regulation for PFOA and PFOS should be written. The PFAS Action Plan stated that this would be completed by the end of 2019.
  • No regulations to clean up PFAS have been issued. EPA has yet to submit to the OMB a proposed rule designating PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the Superfund law despite repeatedly promising to do so. Reportedly, Trump Administration officials are actively blocking this proposal.
  • PFAS toxicity studies have been delayed. Key studies about the toxicity of specific PFAS chemicals that were supposed to be completed in 2019 have been delayed.
  • 5-year-old EPA proposals to limit PFAS uses still aren’t final. The EPA has approved the manufacture of at least 15 new PFAS in the past three years under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), but a TSCA rule first proposed in 2015 that limits new, harmful uses of PFAS has still not been finalized.

While the U.S. House of Representatives has passed important legislation to address PFAS chemicals, including the PFAS Action Act, President Trump has threatened to veto this bipartisan legislation.

A report card released and prepared by Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, details EPA’s failure to meet the commitments it set for itself a year ago, thus requiring Congressional action.

“The American people deserve immediate action by the Trump Administration to protect public health and address toxic PFAS chemicals,” Congressman Kildee said. “Sadly, the Trump Administration and the EPA have largely given lip-service to cleaning up PFAS chemicals. Many communities, including Oscoda in my district as well as others across the country, are waiting for real action. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans and Democrats passed the PFAS Action Act, but this important legislation is being blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Trump Administration, who continue to side with corporate polluters over protecting public health.”

Congressman Kildee has worked with Republicans and Democrats at all levels of government to address PFAS chemical contamination. As the founder and co-chair of the PFAS bipartisan task force, Kildee has previously introduced legislation to set a national drinking water standard for PFAS, clean-up efforts and detect PFAS contamination at other sites across the country.