WASHINGTON — Local water utilities worried about getting hit with lawsuits and high cleanup costs are stepping up their lobbying of Congress as lawmakers move to regulate toxic chemicals found in drinking water.
The bill, the PFAS Action Act of 2021, has garnered bipartisan support and two Michigan lawmakers, U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), are expected to bring the measure to the House floor for passage later this week.
The legislation would direct EPA to regulate two of the most studied types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in drinking water. It would also designate those two chemicals as hazardous substances, which would kickstart federal cleanup standards.
But water utilities representing local governments are also amping up their lobbying on the regulation of the “forever chemicals,” which are linked to multiple health problems such as high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and testicular and kidney cancer.
“The water utilities are not responsible for PFAS in drinking water,” said Mike Keegan, a regulatory analyst at the National Rural Water Association, which is a trade group that represents local water utilities in rural areas across all 50 states.
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