Trump Administration May Veto PFAS Legislation

Jan. 10, 2020

The Trump administration may veto per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) legislation, just days after failing to meet its promise to move forward by the end of 2019 with efforts to set a drinking water standard for the toxic chemicals.

The Trump administration may veto H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act, reported an Environmental Working Group (EWG) news release. The PFAS Action Act would set deadlines for EPA to reduce ongoing PFAS releases and set a drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS.

Last February, David Ross, the U.S. EPA’s assistant administrator for water, pledged that by the end of 2019 the agency “will propose a regulatory determination, which is the next step in the Safe Drinking Water Act process” for establishing an enforceable legal limit.

Administration officials have blocked efforts to require drinking water utilities to filter PFAS from tap water, however, reported the EWG news release.

The EPA has also failed to categorize PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances” under the Superfund law, despite EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s former pledge to do so.

“Just days after failing to meet a PFAS deadline, the Trump administration has threatened to veto legislation that would set PFAS deadlines,” said EWG Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber. “It’s never been clearer that it’s time for Congress to set tough deadlines to reduce PFAS releases into the air and water, set PFAS drinking water standards, and clean up legacy PFAS pollution."

Just hours before the White House issued its veto threat, the EPA issued a press statement “aggressively addressing PFAS.”

“Under President Trump, EPA is continuing to aggressively implement our PFAS Action Plan – the most comprehensive cross-agency plan ever to address an emerging chemical of concern,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “For the first time in Agency history, we utilized all of our program offices to construct an all-encompassing plan to help states and local communities address PFAS and protect our nation’s drinking water.”

The House of Representatives will reconsider H.R. 535 on Jan. 10, according to the news release.

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Cristina Tuser