By Jackie Filson
Is the upheaval against forever chemicals in our water finally coming to a crux? Over a series of hearings this summer, Congress’s respect for the human right to water was put directly on display. America has been ignoring a severe chemical contamination crisis in our water for years, and now Congress is finally confronting why.
The hearings made it clear that across party lines, state representatives have a variety of motivations feeding their proposals for clean up and prevention of forever chemicals known as PFAS. Some took the stand to regurgitate industry fueled propaganda, while others straddled the fence between regulation and swift action. The true water champions offered hard-lined, urgent and sweeping plans. It’s time to stop the production of PFAS containing products, enforce limits on their environmental presence and provide adequate funding for cleanup and testing.
Forever Chemicals Destroy Lives
Community members like Michael Hickey trekked all the way to Washington D.C. to share personal stories about losing loved ones in order to convince every member of Congress and the EPA to take the hard-line when it comes to water contamination.
His specific demands are:
- Immediately regulating PFAS forever chemicals under the Clean Water Act;
- Clean up the sources of contamination and contaminated water supplies;
- Make the polluter pay for water contamination cleanup, including the military, which is responsible for many contaminated sites around the country;
- Set enforceable standards for drinking water for the entire class of PFAS chemicals;
- Provide funding to help communities like Hoosick Falls provide safe water; and
- Provide training for healthcare professionals and medical monitoring in impacted communities.
PFAS are “forever chemicals,” so they deserve a forever solution. Congress must break party lines, put the lid on half-measure proposals and commit to adequate action that includes all of the above. Passing the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act would be a good start.