In a plan released Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency declined to include clean water standards to address PFAS, the contaminant found in water near many installations and in other communities.
Instead, the plan, which EPA called “historic” and “comprehensive,” provides guidance for state and local government agencies to clean up the chemicals.
“For the first time, we are clearly defining the difference between federally protected waterways and state protected waterways,” Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a press release.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were critical of the plan.
“Local communities and state regulators from across the country, as well as members of Congress, are concerned about PFAS pollution,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who vowed to hold a hearing on the issue, according to CQ. “The Environmental Protection Agency’s PFAS plan is only a first step…. The agency must be willing to take decisive action where it is warranted.”
Environmental cleanup advocates in communities came out against the guidelines in statements compiled by the National PFAS Contamination Coalition.
“We cannot stop the flood of PFAS until EPA turns off the tap,” said Laura Olah of Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger, which advocates for cleanup of the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant in Merrimack, Wis.
“EPA needs to stop putting corporate profits before the health of Americans,” said Linda Almazon from the Environmental Justice Task Force in Tucson, Ariz.