Governor Carney and 14 Governors Urge Congress to Act on Harmful PFAS

Letter expresses need to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney and the Governors of Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin issued a letter to the leadership of both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees urging them to include provisions for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act to protect citizens who would be affected by these substances.

Read the letter here:

Dear Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Reed, Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Thornberry:

As you instruct your conferees to consider the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), we, the undersigned governors, would like to highlight several key provisions related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and urge you to include them in the final legislation.

PFAS are used in many nonstick coatings in consumer products, industrial processes, and firefighting foams often used by the military and at airports. These chemicals, which break down extremely slowly or not at all, can accumulate in our environment and in our bodies, and those that have been studied are associated with adverse health effects, such as liver damage, thyroid disease, and kidney and testicular cancers. Provisions in the current House and Senate measures will ensure the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) mitigates the impacts of PFAS contamination, require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to move more quickly to set PFAS health standards and protections, and provide much-needed resources and guidance as the federal government, states, and communities work to address contamination from these persistent substances.

At current and former military bases across the country, firefighting foam containing PFAS has been in use for many years to meet FAA firefighting standards at FAA controlled airports, and by extension at military airports. In many of these locations, PFAS have leached into groundwater, surface water, and nearby private wells used for drinking water. According to the Government Accountability Office, there are at least 401 military sites with known or suspected PFAS contamination.

As governors, we are evaluating responses appropriate for our states, including in some cases developing or setting drinking water standards for PFAS, and deploying state funds to test, investigate, and remediate PFAS contamination caused by government and industrial uses. Nevertheless, federal action is needed to address PFAS, including contamination in and around military sites.

Our Congressional delegations have worked diligently to include important provisions in the House and Senate bills to require the DoD and EPA to investigate, monitor and clean up PFAS contamination originating from DoD activities. It is clear that many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle understand the urgent need to act to address these toxic PFAS chemicals. As governors whose residents are affected by these toxics, we urge development of a package that includes the strongest provisions from both the House and Senate bills, including the following that would:

  • Require EPA to set an enforceable, nationwide drinking water standard under the Safe Drinking Water Act for PFOA and PFOS within two years of enactment, while preserving states’ authority to enact their own, more stringent standards.
  • Require the EPA to list PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) within one year.
  • Require the EPA to revise the list of toxic pollutants under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to include PFAS and publish effluent and pretreatment standards.
  • Phase out the use of PFAS in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) as quickly as possible.
  • Urge the DoD to finalize cooperative agreements with states and partner with governors to test, monitor, remove, and remediate PFAS contamination originating from DoD activities, including at decommissioned military installations and National Guard facilities. Require that if a cooperative agreement is not reached within one year of the request from a state, the Secretary of Defense must report to Congress with an explanation of why an agreement has not been reached. Remediation should satisfy both federal and state/local remediation targets.
  • Grant the National Guard Bureau access to specific environmental remediation program funding in FY 2020.
  • Authorize the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to develop advanced testing methods capable of detecting PFAS, and to conduct nationwide sampling for these chemicals – focusing first on areas near drinking water with known or suspected PFAS contamination.
  • Require the DoD to treat and clean PFAS-contaminated water used for agricultural purposes.
  • Require public disclosure, as part of Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) annual reports, when environmental releases of about 200 PFAS chemicals occur – including PFOS and PFOA.

The FY2020 NDAA presents an opportunity to take historic steps forward to address PFAS contamination that is harming our states, and we ask you to include the strongest PFAS-related provisions in the final bill.

Sincerely,

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

State of Michigan

Governor John Carney

State of Delaware

 

Governor Charlie Baker

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

Governor Tim Walz

State of Minnesota

 

Governor Chris Sununu

State of New Hampshire

 

Governor Phil Murphy

State of New Jersey

 

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

State of New Mexico

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo

State of New York

 

Governor Roy Cooper

State of North Carolina

 

Governor Mike DeWine

State of Ohio

 

Governor Tom Wolf

State of Pennsylvania

 

Governor Phil Scott

State of Vermont

Governor Ralph Northam

Commonwealth of Virginia

Governor Jay Inslee

State of Washington

Governor Tony Evers

State of Wisconsin

 

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View and download a copy of the Governors’ letter.


DNREC to hold public information sessions Sept. 9 in Dover and New Castle on state’s new refrigerant incentive program

DOVER – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will hold two public information sessions Monday, Sept. 9 detailing a new program that will provide incentives to Delaware businesses to install refrigeration systems less harmful to the environment than systems currently used by many businesses and organizations in the state. The first information session will take place at 11 a.m. at DNREC offices at 391 Lukens Drive, New Castle, DE 19720, while the second session is scheduled for 6 p.m. at DNREC’s State Street Commons offices, 100 W. Water St., Dover, DE 19904.

DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy plans to launch the new “Cool Switch – Low Impact Refrigerant Program” later this month. Some refrigerants, like hydrofluorocarbons, are a potent greenhouse gas that have significant impact on global warming. The public information sessions will discuss how the new DNREC program will offer incentives for new systems or upgrades of existing systems to participating municipalities, businesses, non-profits and industries.

For more information please contact Robert Underwood, DNREC Energy Administrator, Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy, at 302-735-3489 or email robert.underwood@delaware.gov. Additional information, including an agenda for the meetings, can be found on the state Public Meeting Calendar.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

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DNREC announces finalized Coastal Zone Conversion Permit regulations, which become effective Sept. 11

DOVER – Final amendments to the Regulations Governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone, approved Aug. 26 by the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board (CZICB), have been published in the September Register of Regulations and become effective Sept. 11, 2019, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin announced today.

HB190, signed into law by Governor John Carney on Aug. 2, 2017, authorized the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to issue permits for construction and operation of new heavy industry uses at 14 existing heavy industry use sites within the state’s Coastal Zone. Like standard Coastal Zone permits, conversion permits require an assessment of the environmental and economic impacts of the proposed conversion.

To begin the process of developing regulations, DNREC Secretary Garvin convened a Regulatory Advisory Committee (RAC), comprising various stakeholder groups and chaired by retired Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland. The committee provided recommendations on a number of issues, including a Sea Level Rise and Coastal Storms Plan, an Environmental Remediation and Stabilization Plan, and evidence of financial assurance. DNREC then held public workshops to gather input on developing regulations for issuing permits.

The committee’s work and recommendations were presented at open houses, where public comments were received. Comments also were submitted to DNREC during a public comment period. The Secretary’s draft regulations and amendments were also presented to the CZICB for approval, as mandated by the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act.

“From the start of the process, DNREC has been committed to developing the regulations governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act Conversion Permit, consistent with the law, in a transparent manner that facilitated and encouraged public input and involvement,” Secretary Garvin said. “The new regulations incorporate recommendations from the RAC, technical experts, and the public that were received throughout the process.”

The regulations provide for Coastal Zone Conversion Permits to return industrial sites to active or more productive use while ensuring the protection of natural resources.

The new Regulations Governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone can be found online at Delaware’s Register of Regulations.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 229

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DNREC seeking volunteers for Delaware Coastal Cleanup

DELAWARE COASTAL CLEANUP VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION TO CLOSE SEPT. 2

DOVER – Volunteers are still needed and encouraged to join the 32nd annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup, to be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 14. Sponsored by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the cleanup spans more than 45 sites in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties, including river and ocean shorelines, as well as wetland and watershed areas.

Volunteers are strongly encouraged to preregister at https://de.gov/coastalcleanup to ensure enough supplies are readied for each Cleanup site. Preregistration will close Monday, Sept. 2.

Cleanup sites that still need additional volunteers include:

Kent County
• Big Stone Beach
• Bennetts Pier

Sussex County
• Slaughter Beach
• Lewes Boat Ramp
• Deauville
• South Bethany Beach

Delaware’s Cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest annual clearing of trash from coastlines, rivers, streams, and lakes by volunteers. Information collected helps identify the source of the debris and focus efforts on eliminating or reducing it. For more information, visit oceanconservancy.org.

For more information about the Delaware Coastal Cleanup, please contact Joanna Wilson, Delaware Coastal Cleanup coordinator, at 302-739-9902, or joanna.wilson@delaware.gov.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 49, No. 226


Volunteers needed Sept. 21 for cleanup at Williams Pond in Seaford as part of Reclaim Our River program

SEAFORD – DNREC, the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, the City of Seaford, and Friends of the Nanticoke River are seeking volunteers to lend a hand, picking up trash at Williams Pond from 9-11:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, as part of DNREC’s annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup.

Now in its second year, the Williams Pond cleanup is part of DNREC’s Reclaim Our River (ROR) program, acting as a reminder that the ocean is always downstream. ROR is a partnership between DNREC, the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, Delaware Nature Society’s Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, Town of Blades, and City of Seaford. The program offers a series of monthly activities that support clean waterways and educate residents on techniques to improve water quality.

Williams Pond empties into the Nanticoke River near Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. Removing trash from the pond and near the park improves water quality, wildlife habitat, and overall health of the ecosystem.

Volunteers can join teams collecting trash from the shoreline and streets. Registered volunteers will receive a free lunch provided by the City of Seaford. The group will meet at Soroptimist Park to sign in and receive supplies, such as gloves and trash bags.

More information can be found at https://nanticokeriver.org/coastalcleanup2019. Questions can be directed to Beth Wasden at 443-944-1175 or bethwasden@nanticokeriver.org

Attendees are encouraged to follow the event at www.facebook.com/NanticokeRiver.

For more information about the 2019 Delaware Coastal Cleanup, which will be held statewide Saturday, Sept. 14, visit https://de.gov/coastalcleanup.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 225