Yesterday Delegate Evan Hansen and Senator William Ihlenfeld held a press conference on the introduction of the Clean Drinking Water Act of 2020! See House bill 4542 here and Senate Bill 679 here. We were joined by a packed room of Legislators, press, and citizens. Speakers included Nancy Ward of Charleston, a local retail owner affected by the 2014 Freedom Industries spill, and Harry Dietlzer, counsel for the class action suit against DuPont.
The bill would create an interagency taskforce to determine the extent of PFAS contamination across West Virginia. If passed, the bill would also require industrial sites that use or have used PFAS chemicals to report and monitor their use to state regulators. It would also require the Department of Environmental Protection to set drinking water standards for a handful of PFAS chemicals.
Delegate Hansen spoke to the need for the bill. “They’re not effectively regulated at the state level or the federal level, and they’ve hurt people in West Virginia,” he said. “In an ideal world, the federal EPA would take the lead on this and come up with national standards, but unfortunately they’ve been dragging their feet and that’s forced state after state to matters into their own hands. So, that’s what we’re doing here today.”
“There’s a false narrative in the building that we can’t have a healthy environment and a strong economy,” he said. “We absolutely can have both and this type of legislation is not overly burdensome — it’s not a heavy lift for industry” said Senator Ihlenfeld.