Business Coalition, Including ILTA, Asks House Panel to Oppose PFAS Bill
A coalition of business and energy trade associations, including ILTA, sent a letter November 19 to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee urging the panel to oppose H.R. 535, the “PFAS Action Act of 2019,” as well as the amendment offered as a substitute to H.R. 535.
PFAS are a large and diverse group of chemicals with unique properties that have been used in a broad number of beneficial applications for years. Heightened attention to potential health effects of certain PFAS has led to an increased public concern and interest in new regulatory protections in this area.
“We understand these concerns and are committed to working with legislators, regulators, and all stakeholders to establish risk-based standards that protect human health and the environment,” the coalition said in the letter. “We also support the development of a consistent approach and clear timelines for assessing and regulating specific PFAS across all relevant federal agencies to ensure that government regulations, actions, and communications are coordinated for maximum effectiveness.”
The coalition said that “any federal action should not address PFAS as a class, be based on sound science and the weight of the scientific evidence, and not predetermined outcomes.” It also said Congress should avoid circumventing existing regulatory authorities, such as EPA.
Currently, the House and Senate are deadlocked on how to proceed with legislation impacting PFAS. The most likely legislative vehicle for any action on PFAS this year is an add-on provision to the Defense Authorization Act of 2020. That legislation is deadlocked in a conference committee that is supposed to forge a compromise between the House and Senate bills. The Senate is currently insisting that no PFAS language be included and the House has demanded immediate, aggressive action to label all PFAS chemicals as “hazardous,” thereby requiring cleanup under the Superfund program. At this writing, it was difficult to predict what, if any, compromise can be struck.