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Pingree Applauds Latest Biden Admin Action to Clean up PFAS Contamination and Protect Public Health

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today praised the Biden-Harris Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their latest efforts to protect Americans from “forever chemical” contamination. EPA’s final rule will designate two widely used per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund, and will help ensure that polluters pay to clean up their contamination.

“Maine has been leading the nation in working to combat forever chemical contamination. With this new designation by EPA, there will finally be federal action to bolster our state’s efforts to clean up PFAS,” said Pingree, a member of the Congressional PFAS Task Force. “This is a huge step forward in ensuring communities like those in Maine are protected from toxic PFAS chemicals and that polluters are held accountable.”

This final action will address PFOA and PFOS contamination by enabling investigation and cleanup of these harmful chemicals and ensuring that leaks, spills, and other releases are reported. This action builds on the recently finalized standards to protect people and communities from PFAS contamination in drinking water and represents the latest step the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to protect public health and welfare and the environment under EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap.

In addition to the final rule, EPA is issuing a separate CERCLA enforcement discretion policy that makes clear that EPA will focus this rule’s enforcement on parties who significantly contributed to the release of PFAS chemicals into the environment, including parties that have manufactured PFAS or used PFAS in the manufacturing process, federal facilities, and other industrial parties.

“President Biden understands the threat that “forever chemicals” pose to the health of families across the country. That’s why EPA launched its PFAS Strategic Roadmap, a whole-of-agency approach to protecting public health and addressing the harm to communities overburdened by PFAS pollution,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Designating these chemicals under our Superfund authority will allow EPA to address more contaminated sites, take earlier action, and expedite cleanups, all while ensuring polluters pay for the costs to clean up pollution threatening the health of communities.”

Earlier this month, EPA issued the first-ever national, legally enforceable drinking water standard to protect communities from exposure to harmful PFAS chemicals. 

As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, which oversees funding for the EPA, Pingree has long pushed for investments to clean up PFAS. In the Fiscal Year 2023 government funding bill signed by President Biden, Pingree secured $8 million for the EPA to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to further research on PFAS contamination in agriculture, as well as $5 million to assist farmers whose land has been contaminated by PFAS.

Addressing PFAS contamination is also a top priority for Pingree as she and her House Agriculture Committee colleagues work to reauthorize the must-pass Farm Bill. In March, Pingree, alongside Senators Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) and Representative Jared Golden (D-Maine), reintroduced the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act, which would authorize grants for states to provide financial assistance to affected farmers, expand monitoring and testing, remediate PFAS, or even help farmers relocate.


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