WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed designating two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as “hazardous substances” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

“I continue to be a strong, leading proponent of action to address PFAS contamination in West Virginia and across the country. Over the years, we’ve heard from local stakeholders and studied the real-life impacts of this complex issue, which is why I am concerned about the uncertainty and unintended consequences that today’s proposal could have. If this proposal is finalized, property owners, farmers, employers, essential utilities, and individuals may be liable for unknowingly having PFAS on their land, even if it was there years or even generations prior to ownership and came from an unknown source.

“The best way to give Americans confidence that they are safe from PFAS should be prioritizing research efforts to both understand the environmental and public health challenges the chemicals pose and develop technologies to ultimately find, remove, and destroy PFAS for good. As I’ve said before, the EPA needs to expeditiously complete work on an enforceable drinking water standard to promote the health and safety of every American.”

Under the EPA’s new proposed rule, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) would be listed as “hazardous substances” under CERCLA. Both substances are no longer used commercially, meaning the rule would largely target sites with legacy contamination.

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