Senators Negotiate Bill to Address PFAS Rule Liability Fears

Top senators on a key environmental panel are in negotiations toward legislation to address liability fears from farmers and water treatment agencies following EPA’s proposal to regulate two forever chemicals under Superfund law.

Negotiations between Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and ranking member Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) have involved addressing concerns over liability for cleanups under an Environmental Protection Agency plan to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous under Superfund law, the agency’s first use of such authority in the 40-plus years since its passage.

“Both Senator Capito and I don’t agree on every issue. But among the issues that we’re joined at the hip on the challenges we face is with respect to these permanent chemicals,” Carper told Bloomberg Law.

Carper said he is hopeful the talks with Capito produce a broader bill dealing with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that isn’t focused solely on how to shield what are essentially passive receivers of the forever chemicals from cleanup liability. Thus far committee staff are working toward a draft bill, though neither senator gave an indication of timing for an introduction.

By Dean Scott, Reporter