UPDATE: Senate Clears Comprehensive Drinking Water Infrastructure Bill with Bipartisan Shaheen Amendment to Address PFAS & Other ContaminantsApril 29, 2021
**A senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Shaheen recently questioned top Biden administration officials on confronting PFAS contamination in water supplies**
**Senator Shaheen has spearheaded efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination, respond to the chemical exposure and remediate polluted sites.**
(Washington, DC) – Today, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to approve the bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021, which included a bipartisan amendment added by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to address contamination in drinking water supplies from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other contaminants. The comprehensive drinking water and wastewater infrastructure package will increase economic growth, enhance the health and well-being of American families and prioritize environmental concerns. It passed the Senate by a vote of 89 to 2 and will next be considered by the House of Representatives.
Shaheen’s bipartisan amendment would modify the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities program to allow states to assist more households, including those who rely on private wells, impacted by contaminants such as PFAS. Shaheen’s amendment would expand eligibility for the program to allow states to use funding on behalf of small and disadvantaged communities. Her bipartisan provision is co-sponsored by Senators Collins (R-ME), Gillibrand (D-NY), King (I-ME), Rounds (R-SD) and Peters (D-MI).
“Safe and clean drinking water should be a fundamental right for every household. Today, the Senate took a critical step forward to meet that standard,” said Shaheen. “This bipartisan drinking water and wastewater infrastructure package is an urgently needed investment and overhaul to ensure every Granite Stater and American can trust the water they’re serving their families. I’m particularly pleased that my bipartisan amendment was included, which will expand a program administered by the EPA to assist communities that rely on private wells and have been impacted by contaminants like PFAS or pollutants like arsenic. It doesn’t matter where you get your water – no one should worry about their health when they turn on the tap. The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act is a good first step, but there is much more to do to address our nation’s water infrastructure needs. I urge the House to move quickly so Congress can deliver this bill to the President’s desk.”
During debate on the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, Shaheen delivered remarks on the need for Congress to provide more tools to ensure all Americans have access to clean, safe drinking water.
Senator Shaheen has spearheaded efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination, respond to the chemical exposure and remediate polluted sites. Shaheen has consistently secured and boosted federal funding for the PFAS health impact study that she worked to establish four years ago. Because of her efforts, Pease is serving as a model site for the nationwide study. The study at Pease is actively seeking participants. In February, Shaheen reintroduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) to provide rural communities under economic strain during the COVID-19 pandemic with $1 billion in emergency assistance to repair, modernize and renovate failing water infrastructure. She has also championed legislation, the PFAS Testing and Treatment Act that would provide substantial federal funding for PFAS remediation in drinking water, and groundwater, including private wells. In addition, Shaheen recently joined a bipartisan group of Senators in urging Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to allow state, tribal, and local governments to use funds allocated through the American Rescue Plan to address contamination from PFAS, including in local water supplies.
At Senator Shaheen’s insistence, government funding legislation passed by Congress and signed into law in December included $1 million in funding for new grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support the development of education courses on best practices for physicians who are caring for patients with significant PFAS exposure. Senator Shaheen and Senator Rounds (R-SD) previously partnered to introduce bipartisan legislation that would create grants for these best practices courses.
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