Delgado Sends Follow Up Letter to Regional EPA Administrator Urging Swift Regulatory Action to Address PFAS Contamination

February 4, 2020
Press Release

Delgado Letter Follows Hoosick Falls Community Working Group Meeting, Urges Establishment of Safe Drinking Water Standards and Hazardous Substance Designation

Delgado: Already too much time has passed without meaningful action from the EPA

HOOSICK FALLS, NY—U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) sent a letter to EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez on January 31, 2020 to follow up on topics the Regional Administrator addressed at the Hoosick Falls Community Working Group meeting the week prior. At the meeting, Rep. Delgado stated that a divided Congress has accomplished more than the current EPA, referring to legislation he introduced to require manufacturers to report their use of PFAS chemicals to the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory. An amended version of Rep. Delgado’s bill was signed into law as part of an annual defense authorization package. In his follow up letter, the Congressman urges the EPA to set a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for PFAS chemicals in drinking water and requests an update on the EPA’s timeline to designate PFOS and PFOA under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

Congressman Delgado’s letter to the EPA Regional Administrator opens with a call to the EPA to set an MCL. “The creation of an MCL for these chemicals would demonstrate EPA’s acknowledgement of the dangers posed by PFAS in drinking water, and is an important step to ensure that Americans have access to safe drinking water. Please provide an update on the specific process for establishing an MCL and when our community – and the American people – can expect to see action on this.” The letter also highlights the urgent need to designate the most harmful PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. “You also stated that, in the next three months, you expect the EPA to move forward with the designation of PFOS and PFOA as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) […] I urge you to work with your colleagues to move through the processes in accordance with the time frame you provided and to keep myself and the public informed of any delays.”

The letter closes with a call for swift action on behalf of upstate New York communities living with PFAS contamination. “I cannot stress how vital it is that the EPA is accountable to communities who have been and continue to be affected by PFAS contamination. The EPA should strive to put people over corporate interests and that means being proactive and comprehensive in its work to address PFAS contamination. Already too much time has passed without meaningful action from the EPA, something that is deeply discouraging to communities like Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh who know first-hand what is at risk.”

A full copy of the letter can be found here and below:

January 31, 2020

 

Mr. Pete Lopez

Regional Administrator

Environmental Protection Agency

290 Broadway

New York, New York 10007

 

 

Dear Administrator Lopez,

 

            Thank you for attending the Hoosick Falls Community Working Group Meeting on Wednesday, January 22nd, to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) local remediation efforts and its process for establishing regulatory protections against per and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemical contamination across the country. I appreciated the opportunity to engage on the subject and would like to continue our dialogue on how to best assist communities that have been affected by contamination. I write to you today to follow up on two critical issues that were raised by numerous community members, including myself, at the meeting.

 

            In our conversation, you stated that the EPA is planning to issue a safe drinking water standard for PFAS. I cannot overemphasize the urgent need to set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for these toxic chemicals. As you are aware, many residents of Hoosick Falls, Petersburgh, and Americans across the country have been exposed to harmful levels of PFAS chemicals and live with the symptoms of this exposure. The creation of an MCL for these chemicals would demonstrate EPA’s acknowledgement of the dangers posed by PFAS in drinking water, and is an important step to ensure that Americans have access to safe drinking water. Please provide an update on the specific process for establishing an MCL and when our community – and the American people – can expect to see action on this.

 

            You also stated that, in the next three months, you expect the EPA to move forward with the designation of PFOS and PFOA as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). The EPA has been aware of the harm caused by these chemicals since 2001, and studies show that these chemicals are in the drinking water of over 110 million Americans. Adding PFOS and PFOA to the Superfund program would ensure federal resources and oversight during the cleanup process, and is critical to addressing the damage inflicted upon communities who have suffered from the pollution released by manufacturers using these chemicals. I urge you to work with your colleagues to move through the processes in accordance with the time frame you provided and to keep myself and the public informed of any delays.

 

            I cannot stress how vital it is that the EPA is accountable to communities who have been and continue to be affected by PFAS contamination. The EPA should strive to put people over corporate interests and that means being proactive and comprehensive in its work to address PFAS contamination. Already too much time has passed without meaningful action from the EPA, something that is deeply discouraging to communities like Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh who know first-hand what is at risk. I look forward to hearing from your office about EPA’s progress toward establishing an MCL for PFAS chemicals, and designating PFOS and PFOA as hazardous substances.

 

                                                            Sincerely,

 

                                                            Antonio Delgado

                                                            Member of Congress

 

###