Congresswoman Luria Champions Legislation to Ensure Clean Drinking Water in Coastal Virginia

January 10, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Elaine Luria today announced the House passage of the PFAS Action Act of 2019 (H.R. 535). This bipartisan bill, which Congresswoman Luria cosponsored, would take critical steps to clean sites contaminated by hazardous per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) across Coastal Virginia and America.

PFAS are synthetic chemicals found in firefighting foam, food packaging, household cleaners, and many other products. These chemicals are resistant to breaking down and can contaminate sources of drinking water. PFAS have been linked with adverse health effects including cancer, immune system effects, infertility, impaired child development, high cholesterol, and thyroid disease.

Congresswoman Luria has been active in investigating the dangers of PFAS. As the chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA), Congresswoman Luria last month hosted a roundtable examining this public health issue for military families across Hampton Roads.

“In Hampton Roads, PFAS present a clear and present threat to our servicemembers and their families,” Congresswoman Luria said. “The PFAS Action Act is an important step toward addressing this public health issue with the attention and urgency that it demands. I am pleased to vote for this legislation, and I will continue to prioritize the long-term health of Coastal Virginians and protect our drinking water from this carcinogenic contaminant.”

The PFAS Action Act will require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to list several categories of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also commonly known as the Superfund program, within one year of enactment. The bill also requires the EPA to set enforceable limits on the levels of certain PFAS in drinking water and to direct federal resources to clean up sites contaminated by PFAS. H.R. 535 would instruct the EPA to make a final decision about the safety status of all remaining categories of PFAS chemicals within five years of its enactment. Additionally, it authorizes $800 million in appropriations to fund entities that help fund infrastructure upgrades that reduce PFAS exposure and to local entities for remediation measures.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.