U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) released the following statement Monday on last week’s House passage of the PFAS Action Act:
“The House vote to pass the PFAS Action Act brings communities in New Mexico and across the country one step closer to the relief they long have deserved. While federal agencies drag their feet – families, business owners, farmers, service members and communities continue to suffer from exposure to these hazardous chemicals. The evidence is clear that these chemicals are toxic, and the federal government has a responsibility to ensure further damage does not occur by setting enforceable drinking water standards for PFAS. I’m proud of the progress the New Mexico delegation has already made on this issue, but more must be done,” Udall said. “This administration continues to recklessly endanger Americans’ health and safety, and already threatening a presidential veto of this bill is shameful. The House has done the right thing and now the Senate needs to act to protect our water from these toxic chemicals. This bill is too important to end up in Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard.”
Udall, along with the entire New Mexico delegation introduced the PFAS Damages Act last year to provide relief to communities and businesses affected by PFAS, including farms and ranches in New Mexico that have been upended by PFAS contamination from Cannon Air Force Base. The bill was included in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as an amendment. The measure ensures that DOD takes precautionary action to prevent human exposure, including through agricultural products, provide alternative water or water treatment for contaminated agricultural water, and acquire contiguous property that is contaminated.
Udall has also called on EPA administrator Wheeler to develop federal drinking water standards for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) as part of the agency’s national management plan for this class of chemicals. In a bipartisan letter to Wheeler, Udall and several other senators also requested that the EPA provide briefings on the agency’s efforts on this issue, as well as regular updates on the progress of those efforts. The senators’ letter came in response to a report that the agency did not plan to establish enforceable drinking water standards for the chemicals, which have been linked to a variety of adverse health implications.