Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's Groups push lawmakers to use defense bill to end support for Saudis in Yemen civil war Congress must address the looming debt crisis MORE (I-Vt.) announced Tuesday he would create tougher nationwide drinking water standards if he’s elected president in 2020.
Sanders said in a statement to The Associated Press that that he would tighten the standards for a group of toxic chemicals that caused contamination in New Hampshire and other New England states.
“Corporate greed is threatening one of the most basic necessities of life: clean water,” said Sanders. “Not only will we support state efforts to enforce stronger clean water laws, we are going to create federal clean water standards that force these companies to clean up their mess.”
Sanders added that companies should pay to clean up contamination and said he would guarantee clean drinking water “as a human right.”
The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
New Hampshire recently established some of the country’s strictest standards for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively called PFAS, but their enforcement was temporarily blocked by a judge in November after chemical company 3M sued the state.
The new standard caps one chemical to a maximum of 12 parts per trillion and another to 15 parts per trillion. The Environmental Protection Agency advises 70 parts per trillion for both chemicals.
The standards come after PFAS contaminated the drinking water for more than 100,000 Granite State residents. More than 700 homes in the state where the drinking water was contaminated have been connected to new water.
Chemical leaks from industrial facilities into the groundwater first caused the pollution. Kidney cancer, increased cholesterol levels and problems in pregnancies, as well as other health issues, have been associated with high levels of one of the chemicals in the body.
Several 2020 Democratic candidates, including Sanders, have unveiled plans to combat an array of environmental matters as climate change emerges as a chief issue in the primary field.