Energy & Environment

Democratic senator gives EPA a D-minus on implementing PFAS action plan

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A Democratic senator is giving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a dismal rating on its progress in regulating a class of cancer-linked chemicals a year after the agency unveiled a plan on the subject.

One year ago, the EPA announced its PFAS Action Plan, which included a now-unfulfilled pledge to determine whether or not the agency would regulate a class of chemicals known as PFAS in drinking water.

The substances, also known as “forever” chemicals due to their persistence in the body and the environment, are used in a variety of products ranging from raincoats to nonstick cookware.

Sen. Tom Carper (Del.), the top Democrat on the chamber’s Environment and Public Works Committee, this week released a report card giving the agency a D-minus on its efforts to implement its action plan. 

“The Trump Administration has managed to make time for deregulatory proposals and environmental rollbacks, but key regulatory actions and other commitments made under the PFAS Action Plan still haven’t been met. The fact is, PFAS Action Plan is mostly plan and very little action,”  Carper said in a statement. 

The senator’s report card dinged the agency over parts of the plan that it said were delayed, not finalized or whose progress was unknown. 

In a statement responding to Carper’s report card, an EPA official said, “The Trump administration is tapping all of the agency’s program offices to implement an all-encompassing PFAS Action Plan to help states and local communities address PFAS and protect our nation’s drinking water.” 

“This is a step no other administration has taken — a fact clearly missing from Senator Carper’s assessment. Also missing are the steps that EPA has taken under the plan,” the person added. 

The official also highlighted actions that the agency has taken including announcing a new way to test for additional PFAS in drinking water and issuing interim recommendations for addressing groundwater contaminated with PFOA and PFOS, which are types of PFAS. 

Last month, the House passed a bill that would require the EPA to set a mandatory drinking water standard for PFAS, but the legislation could face an uphill battle in the Senate.

Tags Environmental Protection Agency EPA PFAS Tom Carper

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