Statement
For Immediate Release: 
January 9, 2020
Contact Info: 
Annaliese Davis 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the PFAS Action Act of 2019. This bipartisan legislation addresses the urgent public health threat posed by toxic PFAS chemicals in a comprehensive way. Below are excerpts of his remarks and a link to the video.
 

Click here to watch the video.
 
“Mr. Speaker, while I am glad that Congress was able to take small steps to address the hazards of PFAS contamination through passage of the 2020 defense authorization bill last month, that action alone was not enough. That’s why the House is taking further action this week. These contaminants, known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they do not break down and can remain in the human body for many years, have been shown to raise one’s risk of deadly cancers, reproductive and immune system disorders, and other health problems.

“For decades, we have known that PFAS contamination is a problem. According to the EPA, millions of Americans are exposed to unsafe levels of PFAS through their drinking water. The Trump Administration, under its own PFAS Action Plan, promised to establish a drinking-water standard by the end of last year as well as explore designating PFAS chemicals under the Superfund program. It has taken neither of these steps. That’s why the House is considering this PFAS legislation this week, introduced by Reps. [Debbie] Dingell and [Fred] Upton, to address the this problem of PFAS chemicals contamination in a comprehensive and responsible way.

“This package of twelve bills was approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee on a bipartisan vote in November, including support from former Chairman Fred Upton. Its provisions will, among others, establish a protective safe drinking water standard for PFAS contamination, improve testing of existing PFAS chemicals, limit the introduction of new ones, and provide for their safer disposal. Most importantly, it will begin the process of helping clean up PFAS -contaminated sites under the Superfund program.

“The Defense Department, which for years has used firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals, has failed to clean up contaminated sites across the country that have contaminated the drinking water of countless Americans. Why is that? Because the EPA has failed to list these chemicals under the Superfund law.

“This legislation is a major action aimed at safeguarding public health and protecting Americans’ access to clean and safe drinking water. I want to thank Rep. Dingell for her leadership on this issue – and her partner, Rep. Upton,  as well as Chairman [Frank] Pallone and Subcommittee Chair [Paul] Tonko of the Energy and Commerce Committee. I also want to thank Chairman [Peter] DeFazio of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for his Committee’s efforts to address this issue. I commend the fifty Members of the bipartisan House PFAS Task Force who have been working diligently on these issues for years. I also commend Rep. Chris Pappas and Rep. Antonio Delgado for their work on amendments to improve this bill.

“This legislation may be the first comprehensive PFAS bill brought to the House Floor, but it will unlikely doubt it will be the last. I urge all of my colleagues to join in voting for this bill, and I hope the Senate will take it up without delay and send it to the President’s desk for approval with the strong, bipartisan support it deserves.”