WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, issued the below statement following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposal of new lifetime health advisory levels that will cause confusion and concern while providing no useful tools for measuring or addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in either drinking water or the environment:
“As one of the leaders in the Senate on PFAS, I am extremely disappointed EPA has decided to act so radically and rashly on such a bipartisan issue. Let’s be clear: No technologies exist for water systems to detect PFOA and PFOS contamination at the infinitesimal levels EPA has set in its proposed lifetime health advisory levels. EPA’s announcement will only increase confusion for water systems’ compliance efforts and further complicate risk communication to the public. Setting these impossible levels misleads the public into thinking their water isn’t safe, even when that may not be true.
“I take the threats of PFAS pollution seriously, but the federal government needs to focus its resources on communities with serious contamination issues to protect human health. No water system in the country—in fact, not even bottled water—will be able to demonstrate compliance with standards EPA has set today. This decision made by the EPA further distracts from the real environmental and public challenges at hand, demonstrates the ideological nature of this policy choice, and may lead to litigation against the EPA itself.
“However, I am encouraged that the EPA is moving quickly to begin distributing the $5 billion in funding over five years provided by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). I commend the EPA for letting the states direct these dollars to those communities most in need. This first year investment of $1 billion is urgently needed to help restore access to clean drinking water in towns and cities dealing with PFAS contamination.”