February 22, 2021

Manchin: EPA Progress On PFAS Chemicals Good News For West Virginians

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to move forward on the Final Regulatory Determination regarding two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals, PFOA and PFOS. The regulation, initially issued on January 15th, has been on hold since January 20th due to an across the board review of ongoing federal regulations as is typical under a new Presidential Administration. Following today’s decision, the EPA can resume the process of establishing a national primary drinking water regulation, including setting a Maximum Contaminant Level which Senator Manchin has been fighting for since 2016.

“I commend the Biden Administration for making these new safe drinking water regulations a top priority right out the gate. Far too many West Virginians in Parkersburg, Vienna, and Martinsburg know all too well how dangerous these PFAS chemicals can be, but today’s decision isn’t just about West Virginia. Today’s announcement is good news for all Americans who live in communities that have been impacted by these forever chemicals. As I’ve always said, every American deserves clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. I look forward to continuing to work with EPA officials to update these safe drinking water standards to fulfill that promise,” said Senator Manchin.

Timeline of Senator Manchin’s work to regulate PFAS chemicals can be found here or below.

  • 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, along with Senator Capito, calls senior officials including Robert Hartley, then-acting Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy and Lucian Niemeyer, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment 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.
  • 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 28, 2018 – President Trump signs the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations Act that includes nearly $5 million for the City of Martinsburg to address PFAS contamination, which Senator Manchin helped secure in the bill. Senator Manchin also 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
  • January 2019 – Senator Manchin meets with EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler 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, sent a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler reiterating the bipartisan support for the establishment of enforceable safe drinking water standards and voted against Andrew Wheeler to be the permanent Administrator of the EPA because he failed to demonstrate a desire to make any meaningful progress on clean drinking water standards.
  • March 4, 2019- Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced bipartisan legislation, the PFAS Action Act (S. 638)
  • April 2019- Senator Manchin spoke with Acting Secretary Shanahan and with Secretary Wilson to raise the fact that the City of Martinsburg had not been reimbursed, though the money had been appropriated.
  • May 2019- Senator Manchin announced an agreement from the United States Air Force to reimburse the City of Martinsburg $4.9 million for the rebuilding of the city’s water treatment facility to clean up and prevent PFAS contamination. Senator Manchin also joins Senator Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Rubio (R-FL) in introducing the PFAS Accountability Act (S. 1372).
  • June 19, 2019- Senator Manchin secured three major provisions in the Senate version of the NDAA that would require the EPA Administrator to designate PFAS Substances as hazardous substances under CERCLA, provide for safe-drinking water detection and assistance, and authorize the Secretary of Defense to expend funds for grants and other agreements to address contamination by PFAS compounds.
  • September 26, 2019- Senator Manchin secured $20 million in funding for a new grant program helping states to address PFAS contamination and remediation in the Senate FY20 Interior and Environment Bill. This bill also includes language addressing clean-up efforts, and water treatment operations.
  • December 20, 2019- President Trump signs into law not only the $20 million in funding for states to address PFAS contamination that Senator Manchin secured in the FY20 Interior and Environment Bill, but also many of the provisions in the 2020 NDAA that Senator Manchin supported in the Senate version of the bill.
  • February 20, 2020- Senator Manchin joined in a group of 30 Senators in a letter the EPA Administrator Wheeler requesting an updated timeline for the EPA to implement the Agency’s plan to address and combat PFAS exposure as outlined in their PFAS Action Plan.
  • June 26, 2020- Senator Manchin joined 19 other Senator’s in a letter to HHS Secretary Azar urging the study of the effects of PFAS exposure and COVID-19.
  • September 1, 2020- Senator Manchin publically opposed the nomination of Dr. Nancy Beck to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to her actions to undermine significant progress on regulating PFAS.
  • December 11, 2020- Senator Manchin votes in support of the FY2021 NDAA in which he secured additional funding for the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry to continue their five-year nationwide study to identify human health effects from elevated levels of PFAS exposure in our drinking water.
  • December 21, 2020- Senator Manchin votes in favor of the FY2021 annual spending package in which he secured $43 million to address PFAS chemical contamination and research.