September 10, 2021

DeFazio, Napolitano, and Pappas Applaud the EPA’s Plans to Limit Discharge of “Forever Chemicals” While Calling for the Agency to Go Further to Protect Public Health

Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will begin rewriting safeguards against polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly known as “forever chemicals,” in wastewater pollution to better protect public health and the environment. Specifically, the agency plans to revise its effluent limitations guidelines (ELGs) and pretreatment standards in the organic chemicals, plastics and synthetic fibers category to address PFAS from industrial discharge. In response, Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), and Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH) released the following statements:

“I am pleased the EPA is taking this important step forward to protect our waters and environment from dangerous PFAS chemicals. We know these chemicals are hazardous, yet there is no comprehensive management of them,” Chair DeFazio said. “Moving forward, I urge the agency to use its existing authority under the Clean Water Act to prevent all industrial dischargers of PFAS into our municipal sewers and waterways.”

“We thank and applaud the EPA for taking this important step to protect American families from PFAS contamination,” Chair Napolitano said. “Our nation’s leading scientists have known that PFAS has had adverse impacts on human health for too long without effective government action. The Biden administration is restoring the proper role of the EPA in using sound science to address emerging contaminants and provide for public health with these rulemakings.”

“This is long overdue but welcome news that the EPA will finally begin to regulate dangerous PFAS discharges into the environment,” Representative Chris Pappas said. “These regulations are an important step forward in protecting our water and addressing one of the most pressing environmental issues facing our nation today. But we need additional protections to safeguard the environment and public health, and the EPA should expand these regulations to other known industries that are actively discharging these forever chemicals. I’ll keep fighting to build bipartisan support for my Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act, which has already passed the House, so we can hold polluters accountable, swiftly establish proactive limits for PFAS across many industries, and support communities that have been directly affected.”


In January 2020, Chair DeFazio offered his support for H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act of 2019. This comprehensive legislation attempts to prevent or limit human and environmental exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) related chemicals from a variety of pathways, as well as spur the cleanup of PFAS-related contamination. To learn more, click here.

In March 2021, Chair DeFazio, Chair Napolitano, and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021, which included $1 billion in municipal grants to treat PFAS and other emerging contaminants. It passed the House as a part of the INVEST in America Act in July 2021. To learn more, click here.

In March 2021, Representative Pappas introduced the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act of 2021, with the support of Chair DeFazio and Chair Napolitano, which would require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop effluent limitations guidelines and standards for the discharge of each measurable PFAS substance, and class of such substances.

In July 2021, the PFAS Action Act of 2021 passed in the House. This legislation includes key policy provisions from the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act of 2021.