New Chamber Report Highlights High Costs for Communities Associated with EPA’s Approach to PFAS
There are increasing pressures from all levels of government to address the growing challenges faced by communities due to contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The need for accelerated clean-up based on science and risk is clear and widely supported by industry and other stakeholders.
However, the path chosen by EPA—through the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund)—is not the best course of action.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has engaged economists and policy experts to model the impact of EPA’s proposed hazardous substance designation of PFOA and PFOS under CERCLA on five representative communities. In short, this action could create liability for communities, consequently increasing costs on various municipal services, including drinking water, wastewater, and landfills. Under the assumption of the likely occurrence of PFOA and PFOS, the report demonstrates that a hazardous substance designation would likely result in expensive upgrades whose costs would be passed on to households. We also believe that the rising costs would continue under the broader designations proposed in EPA’s recent Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
Simply put, CERCLA is the wrong policy tool to ensure timely clean-ups of any PFAS contamination. The U.S. Chamber and our coalition of companies and trade associations representing sectors across the broad economy call on EPA to withdraw its proposal to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA. Our report on EPA’s alternative authorities offers a way forward to accelerate clean-ups without the costs and impacts on households.
Summary Results Estimated Annual Cost/Household
A recent study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency corroborates these estimates.