Manchin Leads Bipartisan Effort To Clean Up Water In West Virginia
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced bipartisan legislation that would mandate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) within one year of enactment declare per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances eligible for cleanup funds under the EPA Superfund law, and also enable a requirement that polluters undertake or pay for remediation.
“All West Virginians deserve the comfort of knowing that their drinking water is clean and safe. In 2016, Parkersburg, Martinsburg and Vienna were faced with the daunting news that their citizens needed alternative sources due to unacceptable levels of PFAS in their drinking water systems. And these issues persist in our state today. It is the obligation of the EPA and our government to ensure that the public has as many resources and as much information as possible. While I am disappointed that Administrator Wheeler has not taken more action to address this issue, I’m glad to introduce this legislation to make sure the PFAS is properly labeled as a hazardous substance and subject to CERCLA authority from now on,” said Senator Manchin.
The legislation was co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Gary Peters (D-MI), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jack Reed (D-RI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Michael Bennet (D-CO). Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) led the introduction of companion legislation in the House of Representatives earlier this Congress.
Below is a full timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to address PFAS contamination in West Virginia and across the country:
May 2016 – Following the announcement by EPA that they would lower the lifetime health advisory for PFOA and PFOS, Senator Manchin worked to help the cities of Martinsburg, Parkersburg and Vienna – all of which had legacy contamination that prompted the issuance of a “Do Not Drink” advisory from the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health.
Fall 2017 – Senator Manchin calls multiple senior officials with the Department of Defense urging them to remediate the PFOA contamination in Martinsburg linked to the use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) in the area.
April 2018 – Senator Manchin, along with 24 of his colleagues, sends a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt outlining the serious public health concerns related to PFAS contamination and encouraging the agency to take swift action to address those concerns.
May 2018 – Senator Manchin writes to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney asking for the immediate release of the results of a study regarding the full effects of PFAS on human health.
June 2018 – Senator Manchin supported an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to allow the DOD to pay for clean-up costs related to the contamination of Martinsburg water supply.
July 2018 – Senator Manchin sends a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt encouraging the agency to host a community meeting in West Virginia to hear from citizens who have been directly affected by PFAS contamination.
August 2018 – Following the resignation of Mr. Pruitt, Senator Manchin sends a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler encouraging the agency to host a community meeting in West Virginia to hear from citizens who have been directly affected by PFAS contamination.
September 12, 2018 – Senator Manchin leads a letter to House and Senate appropriators urging them to include $4.5 million in the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations Act to address PFAS treatment in Martinsburg.
September 28, 2018 – President Trump signs the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations Act that includes $4.5 million for the City of Martinsburg to address PFAS contamination.
September 28, 2018 – Senator Manchin sends a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler expressing his disappointment in the agency’s decision not to hold a public meeting in West Virginia to hear about the long-term challenges posed by PFAS contamination and urging the agency to set a maximum contaminant limit for all PFAS based on rigorous scientific evidence.
January 2019 – Senator Manchin meets with EPA Acting Administrator Andrew to discuss, among other issues, the importance of setting an enforceable safe drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS as part of the agency’s PFAS Action Plan.
February 1, 2019 – Senator Manchin, along with 19 of his colleagues, reiterating the bipartisan support for the establishment of enforceable safe drinking water standards.
February 28, 2019 – Senator Manchin votes against Andrew Wheeler to be the permanent Administrator of the EPA because he failed to demonstrate a desire or a will to make any meaningful progress on clean drinking water standards.
Next Article Previous Article