WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today led a hearing to examine per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).



Chairman Tom Carper:

“Every one of our colleagues in the U.S. Senate is dealing with the lasting effects of PFAS in their states and their communities, as well. The lasting effect of PFAS contamination is having a major impact not only on our public health, but also on our livelihoods.”

Senator Alex Padilla:

“Thank you Chairman and Ranking Member Capito, for allowing us to have this conversation today, because this is a complex issue that deserves nuance and careful deliberation. Ultimately, I think we can all agree that we want to hold polluters responsible and accountable for their contamination, and we need to develop a plan to remove PFAS from our water systems.”

Scott Faber, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group:

 “[W]e shouldn’t be making this problem bigger … we shouldn’t be allowing manufacturers and users of these chemicals to continue to discharge these chemicals with no limits at all.”

Kate Bowers, Legislative Attorney, American Law Division, Congressional Research Service:

“CERCLA identifies different categories of potentially responsible parties. It does not identify a manufacturer as potentially liable merely because it manufactured a product.”


Chairman Carper:

“[T]hanks to modern chemistry, Americans have welcomed the use of PFAS in many other forms: from non-stick pans and waterproof jackets to stain-proof furniture fabric and, even, as part of our heart-valve replacements … Frankly, PFAS chemicals have made — in many instances — life easier, but this has come at a significant cost.”

Mr. Faber:

“I was honored to be here 5 years ago when we first started working together to address PFAS contamination, and thanks to [Chairman Carper’s] leadership, we now know a lot more about who’s releasing PFAS and just how much is in our drinking water. And unfortunately, we’ve learned that millions of people are drinking too much PFAS in their tap water. And I think all of us agree that we should quickly finalize a drinking water standard. Senator Capito, so glad to hear you say that this morning, I’m hopeful we’ll see something soon.”


James Kenney, Secretary, New Mexico Department of Environment:

“So I continue to advocate here today, stating that PFAS is best addressed under RCRA as a starting point, either through direct congressional action or continued U.S. EPA creation of and finalizing rules … Congress should [also] modify CERCLA and the Defense Environmental Restoration program so that U.S. EPA is the sole responsible implementing agency, not the Department of Defense. In doing so, we’ll create a strong program that is focused on both the polluter, and giving states the ability to address the passive receivers with discretion.”

Michael D. Witt, General Counsel, Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission:

“Everything we do, every time we operate, is under the Clean Water Act. We already have the Safe [Drinking] Water Act to provide those standards for us. And that’s where the focus should be, on enforcement [of regulations] and on helping these communities to address PFAS — is through modification of our treatment systems. Let us put our money where it counts, not into lawsuits.”

Click here to watch Chairman Carper’s opening statement.