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EPA Acts on Forever Chemicals

Where the previous administration failed, the Biden Administration is taking action on the growing problem of long-lasting toxic PFAS contaminants in our water supplies — the toxins often called “forever chemicals.”

North Carolina’s own Michael Regan, now the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), made the announcement last week in Raleigh. North Carolina has been attacking PFAS contamination for years, especially since Gov. Roy Cooper took office in 2017. That year, public attention was sparked by alarming levels of a type of PFAS known as GenX in the Cape Fear watershed’s public water supplies from Fayetteville down to Wilmington. The Chemours chemical plant in Fayetteville was revealed to be the source of extensive PFAS contamination.

Regan said the EPA will set “aggressive” PFAS limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and require manufacturers to report their chemicals’ toxicity. The EPA will also designate PFAS as hazardous substances under the Superfund law, which requires companies to take responsibility for the cleanup costs at sites they have contaminated.

“This is a bold strategy that starts with immediate action” and includes additional steps “that will carry through this first term” of President Joe Biden, Regan said in an Associated Press interview. “We’re going to use every tool in our toolbox to restrict human exposure to these toxic chemicals.″

NCLCV Director of Governmental Relations Dan Crawford praised the announcement. “The previous administration spent four years hemming and hawing, but just ten months into this administration, EPA will designate PFAS a hazardous substance under the Superfund law and start rulemaking to create a national drinking water standard,” he said. “Just as he did when PFAS reared its ugly head in North Carolina four years ago, Secretary Regan is taking decisive action to protect all Americans from forever chemicals and to hold corporations accountable. We applaud Regan and President Biden for prioritizing people’s health instead of polluters’ profits.”

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