The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be required to determine if contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exists at any of its facilities or operating sites under a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
“As co-chair of the bipartisan PFAS Task Force, I will never hesitate to hold the government accountable if it fails to follow through on its responsibility to protect public health,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said.
The congressman on Monday joined U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY), both members of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in announcing their legislation.
If enacted, the measure also would require the Corps to identify the contaminants and a plan to clean up contaminated sites, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Fitzpatrick’s office.
The Corps, which is tasked with supporting U.S. water infrastructure, has a research arm that monitors water safety during projects. Rep. Fitzpatrick’s bill would ensure that the Corps is involved in regulatory processes at the federal level involving PFAS, and would be required to provide Americans with more definitive information as to where PFAS contamination exists across the country, according to the summary.
“For too long, water contamination has harmed communities across the country,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “PFAS chemical contamination can lead to serious health issues, and we must act with an urgency that matches the scale of the problem.”
For generations, he added, the Corps has delivered vital public engineering services and it has the infrastructure to support a project of this size.
“Our constituents have a right to clean drinking water,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said. “The more we learn about these chemicals, the clearer the danger becomes. That is why the American people deserve to know where these toxins are used.”
Also during this congressional session, Reps. Fitzpatrick and Delgado introduced two bipartisan bills to address discharges of toxic PFAS chemicals in waterways and water treatment systems. Both bills were included in the PFAS Action Act of 2019, H.R. 535, which their chamber approved on Jan. 10 and sent to the U.S. Senate for consideration.