03.28.19

VIDEO: Capito to EPA at PFAS Hearing: “We’re Falling Short Here”

PFAS Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today questioned senior officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Defense (DOD) regarding the federal government’s actions with respect to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

“I am encouraged by EPA’s action plan, adopting a holistic approach,” Senator Capito said. “But I am concerned that we’re falling slightly short here. If this were the water that your children and grandchildren were drinking, what would be the emerging level of concern, rather than when it’s occurring somewhere else? I know at the heart of everybody we all feel that way, but when it’s directly affecting you, it really takes on a stronger urgency.”  

To watch Senator Capito’s questions, click here

BACKGROUND:

In 2016, the EPA identified high levels of PFAS in the City of Martinsburg’s water supply. The EPA mandated the installation of additional water filtration systems at the Martinsburg Big Springs water treatment plant to address the issue on the threat of enforcement actions, potentially including shutdown of the facility. Firefighting foam used by the Air National Guard at the Eastern Regional Airport was revealed to be the source of the contamination. 

Senator Capito secured language in the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations Act to reimburse the city of Martinsburg for the significant costs involved in upgrading Big Springs to address the issue, as the federal government was responsible for the PFAS contamination. 

Additionally, Senator Capito ensured Berkeley County was included in a joint study between the Department of Defense (DoD) and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) on PFAS exposure in populations living and working on and around military bases.

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