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Upton, Dingell, Walberg Hold EPA to PFAS Meeting Commitment

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Washington, September 7, 2018 | Tom Wilbur (202-225-3761) | comments

After the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committed to holding a meeting in Michigan on PFAS chemicals in drinking water, Representatives Fred Upton (MI-6), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), and Tim Walberg (MI-7) followed up on the commitment and called for details to finalize a time and place.

Thursday, the Environment Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) in which an EPA official committed to sending experts and senior officials to Michigan to discuss PFAS contamination sites. The EPA had originally planned a public meeting in Michigan, but later pulled it from the schedule.

“Michigan has been hit hard,” the lawmakers wrote. “The number of PFAS confirmed sites has been growing rapidly over the last few years. According to the State of Michigan, there are now 35 confirmed PFAS contamination sites and the public is seriously concerned. While there is more work to do, the state is aggressively testing, tracking, and working to combat PFAS.  The State of Michigan fully supports an EPA visit and is looking forward to hosting.  It is invaluable for EPA to see first-hand the extent of the growing PFAS contamination problem we are confronting.”

Recently a “Do Not Eat” fish advisory was issued for the Huron River due to elevated PFAS levels. The town of Parchment, MI also recently had a crisis with PFAS in their water supply, and there are major contaminations at several military installations in Michigan as well.  PFAS chemicals are man-made and linked to certain cancers and serious health problems.

Learn more about Upton’s work on this issue here.

You can read a copy of the lawmakers letter to the EPA here or below:

 Dear Acting Administrator Wheeler:

 As members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, we thank the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for testifying before the committee on the growing presence of perfluorinated chemicals across the nation.  This letter is to follow up on the commitment made by EPA yesterday to send senior officials to Michigan to discuss per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). We welcome EPA to Michigan and look forward to this important visit as soon as possible.

Michigan has been hit hard.  The number of PFAS confirmed sites has been growing rapidly over the last few years.  According to the State of Michigan, there are now 35 confirmed PFAS contamination sites and the public is seriously concerned.  While there is more work to do, the state is aggressively testing, tracking, and working to combat PFAS.  The State of Michigan fully supports an EPA visit and is looking forward to hosting.  It is invaluable for EPA to see first-hand the extent of the growing PFAS contamination problem we are confronting.

 As you know, EPA originally planned to visit Michigan as part of its national tour to engage communities affected by harmful PFAS and to find ways for EPA to best support ongoing work occurring at the state, local, and tribal levels.  We are pleased by the commitment made by EPA at yesterday’s hearing and hope the visit can happen very soon.

 In the coming days, we look forward to working with EPA, the State of Michigan, and all elected officials from the Michigan delegation to finalize logistics for your visit.

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