WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the below statement following the EPA’s decision to designate two legacy per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals,” as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). This constitutes the first time the EPA has ever designated a hazardous substance under CERCLA without first designating the substance as such under another environmental statute. 

“The EPA’s unprecedented decision today puts local communities and ratepayers on the hook for PFAS contamination they had nothing to do with in the first place. Along with many others in Congress, I have repeatedly warned the EPA about the unintended consequences stemming from this rule, which will have disproportionate impacts on providers of essential public services such as water and waste utilities, airports, farmers and ranchers, and fire departments.

“Today’s ill-advised decision underscores the urgent need for Congress to act. We must pass legislation to safeguard American ratepayers from the financial burden imposed by this misguided rule.”


“Communities would be required to remove the six substances, two of which would be hazardous substances, through water treatment processes, therefore concentrating the PFAS in filters.

“Water systems could be stuck holding those filters because landfills would be unwilling to accept them due to liability concerns.

“Wastewater and storm water utilities, although not responsible for generating these flows, could face similar liabilities, receiving PFAS chemicals through intakes or storm water runoff.

“These ‘passive receivers’ would bear the brunt of these liabilities, facing frivolous lawsuits for just providing essential services.

“No EPA enforcement discretion policy can prevent lawsuits by activist third parties.

“Without congressional action, a wave of lawsuits could potentially raise taxes and utility rates on millions of Americans, all while enriching the trial lawyers."

In 2023, Ranking Member Capito penned an op-ed in Roll Call on the topic, which can be found here.

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