U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) today announced the successful implementation of their per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) provision requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify and publicly share the sources of PFAS emissions. The provision was passed in the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference bill and required 172 PFAS to be added and created a clear process to add future PFAS chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), a centralized database that requires polluters to publicly report when chemicals are released into the environment. The implementation of the senators’ NDAA provision increases transparency in PFAS reporting, improves the availability of information related to PFAS emissions, and helps identify potential sources of PFAS emissions in the environment. Reporting forms for the initial 172 PFAS are due to EPA by July 1, 2021, and three additional PFAS have been identified for TRI reporting in Review Year 2021 (RY21).
“The EPA’s enforcement of this new law is great news for the countless communities across the country struggling to respond to the human health and environmental threat posed by PFAS contamination. Americans deserve transparency on the PFAS chemicals being released into the environment, and we are now delivering that accountability to combat polluters,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am proud to have worked with Senator Capito to pass this provision in the NDAA and see it through to implementation. This is a critical next step to ensuring families in New York, West Virginia, and across the country aren’t exposed to dangerous levels of PFAS in their drinking water and communities.”
“This is a positive step forward by EPA to address PFAS. When finalized, this reporting will help government make more informed decisions to protect public and environmental health,” said Senator Capito, Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Section 7321 of the NDAA immediately added certain PFAS to the list of chemicals covered by the TRI under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and provided a framework for additional PFAS to be added to TRI on an annual basis. Three additional PFAS chemicals are now subject to a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for RY21. The TRI serves as a vital resource for communities to identify the sources of contamination and requires polluters to publicly report when chemicals are released into the environment. The provision was included in the Gillibrand-Capito PFAS Release Disclosure Act, which would help address the widespread challenges of PFAS contamination and do the following:
- Require the addition of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)—the legacy long-chain PFAS with the most significant, scientifically demonstrated health effects—to the TRI.
- Require that any PFAS subject to an existing Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) be added to the TRI. This provision is believed to apply to almost 200 of the 602 PFAS that are currently in commerce.
- Require any PFAS subject to an ongoing or future SNUR or finalized toxicity value—including the ongoing review of the compound GenX—to be added to the TRI after finalization of the relevant SNUR or toxicity value.
- Direct EPA to decide whether to add several additional specific PFAS for addition to the TRI within two years.
- Set the reporting threshold for PFAS by entities subject to TRI reporting at a level of 100 pounds to ensure a robust dataset following enactment. (The EPA is required to revisit these thresholds after five years.)
- Protect confidential business information from publication while still including PFAS compounds that include such information in TRI reporting, while directing EPA to take steps to maximize transparency.
Gillibrand has long fought to include provisions that would protect communities from toxic PFAS. Earlier this month, Gillibrand announced two critical pieces of legislation, the Clean Water for Military Families Act and the Filthy Fifty Act. The Clean Water for Military Families Act would require the Department of Defense to conduct investigations and remediate PFAS contamination at and surrounding DOD installations in the U.S. and state-owned National Guard facilities. The Filthy Fifty Act would help expedite the testing, cleanup, removal, and remediation of PFAS at all U.S. military installations and State-owned National Guard facilities by setting testing and cleanup deadlines for PFAS remediation at some of the most contaminated DOD sites in the country. The bill establishes a list of “priority installations” with 50 bases in the U.S. that have among the highest detections of PFAS. Additionally, Gillibrand recently introduced the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act to stop polluters from contaminating waterways through the creation of new effluent limitation guidelines and standards for discharge in waterways.
For more information on the final EPA rule, click here.