O’Halleran Votes to Pass PFAS Action Act

July 21, 2021
Press Release
Bill Includes funding O’Halleran Secured for Tucson

WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) voted to pass the PFAS Action Act to clean up “forever chemicals” that pose a direct threat to clean drinking water in communities across America. PFAS exposure has been linked to certain types of cancer and other deadly medical conditions.

The legislation designates the two most studied PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances by the EPA and sets a deadline for the EPA to make designation decisions about all other PFAS chemicals, which has been a key barrier to cleaning up industrial and military sites. The bill also creates new grants and partnerships to aid municipalities with clean-up and remediation efforts, and, to prevent future contamination, the bill introduces stricter limits on PFAS pollution and the introduction of new PFAS chemicals, as well tougher testing, reporting and monitoring requirements.

“Communities like Tucson have been fighting for years to clean up PFAS and other harmful chemicals in their drinking water; they need our support,” said O’Halleran. “Our bill provides some financial support for cities like Tucson, which has been locally funding PFAS cleanup projects for years, and ensures that proper oversight of these chemicals is in place.”

The PFAS Action Act establishes a $2.5 billion PFAS Infrastructure Grant Program to award grants to municipal water systems to clean up these harmful chemicals and prevent further contamination. Of that, $50 million can be spent to help communities like Tucson recoup costs related to PFAS cleanup since 2014.

Within the bill is O'Halleran’s amendment that requires the grant program give priority to communities like Tucson that are located in an area that is a sole source aquifer for drinking water.

"Setting a national drinking water standard for PFAS is a critical step towards initiating the large-scale clean-up efforts that are needed in the Tucson region and communities across the country where PFAS contamination exists," said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. "I thank our Tucson-area Congressional Delegation for their tireless advocacy to ensure that Tucson Water ratepayers have a clean water supply for generations to come and are not stuck with the bill for a problem that they did not create. My gratitude goes to Congressman O’Halleran for his efforts on behalf of all Tucson Water ratepayers.”

As a member of the House Energy and Committee Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, Congressman O’Halleran voted to pass the PFAS Action Act out Committee in June. View O’Halleran’s remarks during the Energy and Commerce markup of the bill HERE.

This summer, O’Halleran joined Sens. Krysten Sinema and Mark Kelly and Reps. Raul Grijalva and Ann Kirkpatrick in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III urging the DOD to prioritize attention on the worsening PFAS contamination issues in the City of Tucson and accelerate any remaining remedial investigations, expedite clean-up actions and prioritize the unique water source challenges the community faces. Read the full letter HERE.

For a section by section summary of the bill from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, click HERE.