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.


Governor Carney Announces Support for National Clean Car Standard

U.S. Climate Alliance members issue “Nation’s Clean Car Promise” to address vehicle pollution, climate change

WILMINGTON, Del.Governor John Carney and 23 other Governors of the U.S. Climate Alliance on Tuesday issued a joint statement announcing the “Nation’s Clean Car Promise” to protect citizens from vehicle pollution and to fight climate change. The following are excerpts from their statement:

“We, the undersigned 24 governors– a bipartisan coalition representing 52 percent of the U.S. population and 57 percent of the economy – stand together in calling for one strong, national clean car standard and support preserving state authority to protect our residents from vehicle pollution. Strong vehicle standards protect our communities from unnecessary air pollution and fuel costs, and they address the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States.

“We commit to continue working together to support a strong national standard and issue the ‘Nation’s Clean Car Promise.’

“We call for a common-sense approach that protects the role of states at the negotiating table and establishes a strong, national standard that:

  • Achieves continuous, meaningful annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and criteria pollutants while saving consumers money.
  • Provides regulatory certainty and enhances the ability to invest and innovate by avoiding extended periods of litigation and instability.
  • Preserves good jobs in the auto sector and keeps new vehicles affordable for more Americans.

“Implementing one strong, national standard as outlined in the Nation’s Clean Car Promise is in the best interest of states, automakers and consumers. It also shows the world that America is a leader on transportation and environmental protection. We will not compromise on our responsibility to protect the health of our communities, our climate, and the savings consumers stand to gain at the pump. We will continue to pursue additional concrete actions to fulfill this duty and defend against any threats.”

Click here to read the full statement from the members of the U.S. Climate Alliance.


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Governor Carney’s Statement on EPA’s Replacement of Clean Power Plan

Governor John Carney released the following statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s announced its decision to replace the Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule:

“I’m disappointed in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to replace the Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, which removes a strong incentive for states and the Federal government to work together to protect and improve air quality.

“Delaware citizens and our economy will be negatively affected by the ACE Rule. Rising average temperatures and prolonged heat waves pose critical health risks to Delaware farmers, outdoor workers, children, and the elderly. Changing climate conditions will increase local levels of particulate matter and ground-level ozone, which increase the risk our residents face of premature death and chronic heart and lung problems, and many of these pollutants are transported from states to the west of us. These threats will only increase if we do not take a stance as a nation and a global community to reduce the human emissions of greenhouse gases that feed rapid climate change.

“We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change and the dangers it poses to all of us.”

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Governors Lead Bipartisan Effort to Prevent Dangerous Seismic Testing and Offshore Drilling

Trump Administration Approves Offshore Airgun Use, Governor Carney Joins Atlantic Seaboard Governors Urging Protection for Our Coast

WILMINGTON, Del. – Following the announcement that the Trump Administration authorized airgun use in waters off the East Coast, Governor John Carney and a group of bipartisan governors today urged Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to halt harmful seismic testing and offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

“As the governors of ten states on the Atlantic seaboard, we write to reiterate our strong opposition to seismic airgun surveys and oil and gas drilling off our coasts,” the governors wrote. “These activities pose an unacceptable and unnecessary threat to our coastal ecosystems and coastal economies.”

Today’s letter was signed by the following governors: Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts; Governor John Carney of Delaware; Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina; Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York; Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland; Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut; Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina; Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey; Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia; and Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island.

In November, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Fisheries department issued incidental harassment authorizations (IHAs) for seismic airgun surveys to five companies searching for oil and gas deposits in the Atlantic. The decision follows months of vocal opposition from states along the East Coast, which have repeatedly urged the federal government to protect coastal tourism and fisheries by preventing seismic testing and offshore drilling.

In a letter sent today, the governors urged the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Commerce to deny all permit applications for seismic testing, exclude the waters off the East Coast from the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for offshore drilling, avoid issuing further IHAs for seismic airgun surveys and prevent any future offshore drilling efforts in the Atlantic Ocean.

“Drilling in the Atlantic would pose significant threats to Delaware’s natural resources and our economy,” said Governor John Carney. “I am proud to stand with fellow Atlantic state governors in opposition to seismic testing and drilling for oil and gas off our coasts. There’s too much at risk for Delaware and the Atlantic Seaboard to allow this to go unchallenged.”

The full letter is available here.

Seismic testing and offshore drilling pose significant economic and environmental threats to communities along the Atlantic Coast, which generate more than $98 billion in gross domestic product each year. Seismic airgun pulses can deplete fish populations that are vital for commercial and recreational fishing industries and offshore drilling increases the risk of catastrophic oil spills, which devastate marine life and tourism and hurt coastal economies. Hundreds of tourism associations, chambers of commerce, convention and visitors’ bureaus, trade groups, businesses, elected officials and local governments have formally opposed seismic testing and offshore drilling.

For more information visit de.gov/nodrilling.

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Related news:
Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Protect Delaware’s Coastal Waters and Economy


Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Protect Delaware’s Coastal Waters and Economy

Senate Bill 200 and Senate Bill 207 will prohibit and prevent offshore drilling in Delaware’s coastal waters

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed Senate Bill 200 and Senate Bill 207, two pieces of legislation aimed at protecting Delaware’s coasts from offshore drilling. These pieces of legislation will help maintain high-quality coastline waters and protect thousands of jobs supported by Delaware’s coastal tourism industry. Coast-related activities contribute almost $7 billion to Delaware’s economy.

Senate Bill 200 prohibits drilling for oil and natural gas in Delaware’s coastal zone and territorial waters, and precludes DNREC from issuing any permits in connection with the development of offshore drilling infrastructure. Senate Bill 207 opposes drilling off Delaware’s coast and directs certain state officials and agencies to enforce Delaware’s rights relating to offshore drilling under federal and state environmental laws.

“We have a responsibility to care for our coasts, and in turn, protect our state’s environment and economy,” said Governor Carney. “Offshore drilling presents a threat to the health of our coastal communities that we can’t ignore, and these two pieces of legislation will help prevent drilling in our waters. A large part of Delaware’s tourism industry depends on clean coasts, and Delawareans and visitors alike will benefit from these protections signed into law today. Thank you to members of the General Assembly for this bipartisan effort and to advocates for their tireless work to protect Delaware’s coasts, environment and economy.”

“Promoting clean alternative energy development in the Atlantic region, along with the continued conservation of our marine and estuarine habitats, and the success of our coastal economy are of the utmost importance to the citizens of Delaware,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

“The state’s beaches are a treasure, which the National Resource Defense Council has consistently rated as the cleanest on the East Coast,” said Liz Keller, Delaware Tourism Director. “They are important for the tourism industry in the state, and it is essential to maintain their good health.”

“Standing against offshore drilling is a no-brainer for Delaware,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen. “Washington, D.C. may have forgotten disasters like those in the Gulf, Alaska and Santa Barbara – but I haven’t, and neither have bipartisan leaders across our state. Delaware’s beaches are some of the cleanest in the country, are home to a unique marine ecosystem, and are vital to our state’s crucial tourism industry. It takes just one accident to change all of that overnight. Our economy, our budget, and our environment can’t afford that mistake.”

“I am proud to be a prime sponsor of this important bipartisan effort,” said Senator Ernesto “Ernie” Lopez. “Defending our beautiful beaches and our unique coastal environment from the potential negative impact of off-shore drilling is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue: It is a Delaware issue and has been of the highest priority for the people of the 6th District and to me as their State Senator.”

“We welcome millions of visitors to Rehoboth and Dewey every year. They come here for our award-winning, pristine beaches and clean air. They contribute billions to our local economy. All of that could be jeopardized by offshore drilling,” said House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf. “Delawareans have to stand together against something that could do so much damage to our community and our state, and that’s exactly what the General Assembly did by overwhelmingly passing these bills.”

“The risks involved with offshore drilling are greater than many people realize. There have been 44 major oil spills off the United States coast since 1969, several with catastrophic effects on the environment and local economy,” said Representative Debra Heffernan. “We can’t allow that to happen to Delaware, and we have to take whatever steps we can to protect our environment.”

“I am thrilled that Delaware is taking this important step, and I am proud to have been a co-sponsor of this bipartisan bill,” said Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle. “Our coastline is a critical natural resource, and the risk of damaging our waterways through a drilling accident far outweighs the benefit of any oil that could be extracted.”

“It means a lot to see and hear leadership at the state level,” said Rehoboth Beach Mayor Paul Kuhns. “It validates our concerns and efforts to maintain a clean and healthy coast that is vital to our economy and families who come to enjoy our beautiful beaches. In publicly opposing offshore drilling activities, Governor Carney is standing with our coastal communities, who have the most to lose and who have overwhelmingly opposed these efforts.”

“The City of Lewes is very pleased that Governor Carney is signing SB 200 and SB 207,” said Lewes Mayor Ted Becker. “Lewes was the first city to adopt a resolution opposing seismic testing – a precursor to offshore drilling – in November 2015. Since then the six other coastal communities, all members of the Association of Coastal Towns (ACT), have adopted similar resolutions as a demonstration of our collective serious concern regarding the potentially devastating impact offshore drilling could have on marine mammals and the extremely important economic contribution of tourism to the economy of our state.”

“The Delaware Coast and its estuaries form essential marine habitat for over 32 species of marine mammals and sea turtles,” said Suzanne Thurman, MERR Institute Executive Director. “Many of these species are endangered, and three large whale species are experiencing an Unusual Mortality Event. These magnificent creatures need to be protected from the devastation of harmful oil and gas drilling, which even in its daily operation will contaminate the marine ecosystem, and in the event of a spill would be catastrophic. MERR is very pleased to see these important bills signed into law today, and for the far reaching protection they will provide for our coastal waters and the welfare of marine species.”

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