Trump Will Veto Bill Meant To Keep ‘Forever Chemicals’ Out Of Water
The White House announced its intentions to veto the PFAS Action Act of 2019, which aims to keep harmful forever chemicals out of groundwater, according to EcoWatch.
“Forever” chemicals, often referred to as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals) are a type of heat and water-resistant chemicals used in a variety of industrial products, flame retardants, and nonstick products that include raincoats, cookware, and packaging, that have drained into water supplies in almost every state in the U.S.
The chemicals are known carcinogens and do not degrade in the environment nor in the human body.
The bill is sponsored by congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) and is intended to reduce involuntary exposure to PFAS.
“PFAS is a clear threat to human health and our environment,” Dingell wrote in a November 2019 statement. “The reality is a lot of contamination is connected to military sites and the Defense Department. We are continuing to champion strong provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act to identify PFAS as a hazardous substance for the purpose of clean up under the EPA’s Superfund program and facilitate coordinated response between local communities and the military.”
Dingell’s bill is expected to be voted on and passed in the Democratic-controlled House, but it may never reach the Senate, as the White House announced its intention to veto the legislation.
The White House claimed the bill would “supercede existing statutory requirements” that would prevent the EPA from making proper decisions about the treatment of PFAS in the environment.
“By doing so,” the statement said, “the bill would create considerable litigation risk, set problematic and unreasonable rulemaking timelines and precedents, and impose substantial, unwarranted costs on Federal, State, and local agencies and other key stakeholders in both the public and private sectors.”
Environmental activists were shocked by the White House’s decision.
“Just days after failing to meet a PFAS deadline, the Trump administration has threatened to veto legislation that would set PFAS deadlines,” Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement. “It’s never been clearer that it’s time for Congress to set tough deadlines to reduce PFAS releases into the air and water, set PFAS drinking water standards, and clean up legacy PFAS pollution. If the Trump administration won’t take the necessary steps to protect the public from PFAS, it’s up to Congress to act.”