FILE- In this Aug. 14, 2017 file photo, a couple kayak on the Rogue River adjacent to where Wolverine World Wide's tannery once stood, in Rockford, Mich. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is investigating the connection between old waste drums in the area and an old Wolverine World Wide tannery waste dump nearby. Some private wells in the area have tested positive for elevated levels of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known collectively as PFAS. (Neil Blake /The Grand Rapids Press via AP, File)

The Latest: Environmentalists criticize water pollution plan

February 14, 2019 - 1:07 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Environmental Protection Agency's plan for dealing with long-lasting chemicals known as PFAS (all times local):

1:05 p.m.

Environmental groups are criticizing the Trump administration's plan for dealing with highly toxic chemicals in drinking water, saying it's too little and too slow.

Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter says it's a "non-action plan designed to delay effective regulation" of the chemicals known collectively as PFAS, which are found in nonstick pans and other household items.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday in Philadelphia announced its "action plan" for dealing with PFAS in drinking water. The EPA calls the plan "comprehensive" and says it includes short- and long-term actions.

But the Sierra Club environmental organization says it will take years to carry the actions out.

Environment America clean-water advocate Bart Johnsen-Harris says the EPA plan lacks a clear, health-based limit on PFAS compounds in water supplies.

The National Ground Water Association industry group says the plan is an important step toward providing leadership on PFAS.


10:35 a.m.

The chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee says a plan outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency is only a first step toward protecting the public from highly toxic chemicals in drinking water.

GOP Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming says the panel will conduct a hearing this spring on the blueprint announced Thursday by Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Barrasso says the agency must "speak clearly" about risks posed by a class of chemicals known as PFAS and must be willing to take "decisive action" where warranted.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire says the plan "falls short of delivering the certainty" that people exposed to PFAS contamination deserve. She says it lacks a commitment to develop enforceable drinking water standards.

The Environmental Protection Agency says it will move ahead this year with a process that could lead to setting a safety threshold for a group of highly toxic chemicals in drinking water.


9 a.m.

The Environmental Protection Agency says it will move ahead this year with a process that could lead to setting a safety threshold for a group of highly toxic chemicals in drinking water.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Thursday in Philadelphia was announcing the agency's first nationwide plan for dealing with long-lasting contaminants known as PFAS.

The contaminants have been detected in many public drinking water systems and private wells around the country. The chemicals are used in firefighting foam and a variety of nonstick, water-repellent products.

Wheeler is proposing "a regulatory determination" for two common forms of the compounds. That's a first step toward a threshold at which treatment to remove the contaminants would be required.


5:35 a.m.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce a plan for dealing with a class of long-lasting chemical contaminants amid complaints from members of Congress and environmentalists that it's not moved aggressively enough to regulate them.

So-called forever chemicals, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, or PFAS, pose "a very important threat," acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in an interview with ABC News Live ahead of a scheduled briefing Thursday in Philadelphia.

Wheeler said the agency was moving forward with the process under the Safe Drinking Water Act that could lead to new safety thresholds for the presence of the chemicals in water, but he did not commit in the interview to setting standards.

The chemicals are found in consumer products ranging from fabrics, rugs and carpets to cooking pots and pans, outdoor gear, shampoo, shaving cream, makeup and even dental floss. Increasing numbers of states have found them seeping into drinking water supplies.

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