Washington, DC - Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), released the following statement in response to the committee's bipartisan vote to approve S. 1961, the Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act. The legislation was introduced by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Boxer and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and includes common sense measures designed to ensure chemical tanks are properly inspected by state officials and both the chemical industry and emergency response agencies are prepared for future chemical incidents or emergencies.
Senator Boxer said: "I am so pleased that the EPW Committee passed the bipartisan Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act, which brings together in one place the tools necessary to better protect drinking water sources from chemical spills. We must safeguard communities from devastating chemical spills like the one that happened in West Virginia, and I look forward to working with Senator Manchin and my other colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we move forward with this bill."
S. 1961 would strengthen states' ability to prevent chemical spills like the January 9th spill that contaminated the water supply in nine West Virginia counties and impacted more than 300,000 West Virginians.
Key principles in the Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act include:
1. Requiring regular state inspections of above-ground chemical storage facilities,
2. Requiring industry to develop state-approved emergency response plans that meet at least minimum guidelines established in this bill,
3. Allowing states to recoup costs incurred from responding to emergencies, and
4. Ensuring drinking water systems have the tools and information to respond to emergencies.