Pappas’s Bipartisan PFAS Legislation Praised by Local Advocates

April 14, 2021
Press Release

Pappas helped introduce the bipartisan PFAS Action Act this week, which contains key provisions he authored to establish national drinking water standard for select PFAS chemicals, hold polluters accountable, and help communities pay for water upgrades

WASHINGTON, DC - Granite State clean water advocates are praising legislation that Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) helped introduce this week that will help address the harmful impact of PFAS contamination in New Hampshire communities.

The PFAS Action Act contains a key provision introduced by Congressman Pappas based on the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act, which he authored. This will require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish national drinking water standards for select PFAS chemicals, review PFAS discharges under the Clean Water Act, and issue regulations to address harmful discharges of PFAS into our nation’s waterways. It will also empower EPA to hold polluters accountable by ensuring that they are not sending harmful PFAS directly to our publicly owned treatment works. Furthermore, the legislation authorizes a grant program to assist publicly owned treatment works in overseeing compliance by industrial source polluters covered by these new regulations.  

A version of this legislation, including Pappas’s provisions, passed the House last Congress.

“Far too many Granite Staters live with the threat and negative health impacts of harmful forever chemicals like PFAS in their communities, and it is past time that we take meaningful, federal action to keep families safe,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “I am proud to help introduce this bipartisan legislation which includes key provisions I authored that require EPA to set proactive limits for PFAS discharge, hold polluters accountable, and provide impacted communities with resources to address contamination. New Hampshire families deserve clean water and a safe environment, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to address PFAS contamination in a comprehensive way that puts people first.”

“New Hampshire has twenty Superfund sites and a former Air Force Base in Portsmouth which are federally-led cleanup sites. Classifying PFOA and PFOS as hazardous under the PFAS Action Act of 2021 would give us the tools needed to compel an adequate response to the threat posed to drinking water across the state. This bill also protects public health by halting releases to the air, water, and soil from burning these chemicals and wastewater discharges. Congressman Chris Pappas understands the threats posed by these ‘forever chemicals’ and I am grateful that he has taken proactive legislative steps to protect NH citizens and our environment.” Hon. Mindi Messmer, scientist and co-founder of New Hampshire Safe Water Alliance

“Representative Pappas has been a champion for PFAS impacted communities in New Hampshire from the day he took office. The PFAS Action Act of 2021 gives New Hampshire the federal backup we need to help clean up the greater Merrimack area by designating PFOA as a hazardous substance, significantly reducing our exposure by adding much-needed regulations for PFAS discharges and emissions and supporting our health by other measures including establishing drinking water standards, medical testing and banning the introduction of new PFAS into commerce.” — Laurene Allen, Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water

"For far too long, the EPA has not taken swift and meaningful action on PFAS to stop the exposure to innocent communities and hold the polluters accountable for this widespread, public health issue. The PFAS Action Act of 2021 will make a real difference to families like mine facing PFAS exposure and the devastating consequences that comes with it. I am incredibly grateful for Congressman Pappas's attention and leadership on PFAS. He truly cares about impacted community members and is working hard to bring action, accountability, and answers for so many exposed to these toxic and harmful chemicals." Andrea Amico, Portsmouth

The PFAS Action Act would do the following:

  • Require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a national drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS within two years that protects public health, including the health of vulnerable subpopulations. 
  • Designate PFOA and PFOS chemicals as hazardous substances within one year and require EPA to determine whether to list other PFAS within five years. 
  • Designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous air pollutants within 180 days and require EPA to determine whether to list other PFAS within five years. 
  • Require EPA to place discharge limits on industrial releases of PFAS and provide $200 million annually for wastewater treatment. 
  • Prohibit unsafe incineration of PFAS wastes and places a moratorium on the introduction of new PFAS into commerce. 
  • Require comprehensive PFAS health testing. Create a voluntary label for PFAS in cookware.
  • Establish national drinking water standard for select PFAS chemicals

Since entering Congress, Congressman Chris Pappas has taken a leadership role in fighting for better standards, increased investment, and a stronger national focus on the issue of PFAS contamination. He has led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce the PFAS Registry Act. He also joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators to introduce the VET PFAS Act to extend VA benefits to veterans who have been impacted by PFAS contamination on military installations throughout the country. 

Last year Pappas helped pass a critical defense department funding bill that contained several PFAS provisions that he has fought for, including a $5 million increase in funding for the CDC’s study on PFAS in drinking water and establishing an interagency working group to coordinate PFAS research and development that have been tasked with finding alternatives to PFAS and AFFF.