PFAS Solution IN (or OUT) of the NDAA?

Greenberg Traurig LLP
Steven Barringer and Katie P. Reed

November 1, 2019

As legislative days dwindle, Congress is in a full sprint to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (related blog post), among several other must-pass bills. Controversial issues, such as border wall funding, military actions related to Iran, PFAS, among others, have bedeviled congressional negotiators since the Senate (S. 1790) and House (H.R. 2500) passed their bills in early summer. As Greenberg Traurig reported in July, H.R. 2500 would designate all PFAS (over 5,000 chemicals) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), but S. 1790 does not include similar language.

Both bills contain a variety of provisions addressing PFAS pollution, and there is common ground on most of them between the House and Senate packages, and more generally, broad agreement among Republicans and Democrats that legislation is necessary to address PFAS. However, the CERCLA listing is where consensus breaks down.

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EPA Seeks Public Input on Adding PFAS to the Toxic Release Inventory

Troutman Sanders LLP
Angela Levin, Randy E. Brogdon and Viktoriia De Las Casas

September 30, 2019

EPA’s first major action under its February 2019 comprehensive Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan (previously discussed in detail here) is out. On September 25, EPA sent a request for public input on whether EPA should add “certain PFAS chemicals” to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). EPA issues advance notices of proposed rulemaking to get a sense of public reaction before it initiates an important regulatory change, typically before it has conducted significant research or expended agency resources.

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States Ratcheting Down on PFAS Compounds, Moving Ahead of Federal Government

Cozen O’Connor
Peter J. Fontaine, Marcia Mulkey

July 31, 2019

New Hampshire has just become the first state to finalize drinking water maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOS and PFOA, two of the best known and studied PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances), setting levels for those compounds at 15 ppt (parts per trillion) and 12 ppt respectively, effective October 1, 2019. New Hampshire also adopted MCLs for PFHxS at 18 ppt and PFNA at 11 ppt. These actions, which were expeditiously moved through the New Hampshire decision-making processes, now predate final action on New Jersey’s proposed MCLs of 13 ppt for PFOS and 14 ppt for PFOA. New Jersey also already has the first formal PFAS MCL, for PFNA at 14 ppt.

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Impact of PFAS on Private Equity: Preparing for the Coming Wave of Regulation and Litigation

Akerman LLP
Ellen S. Robbins and Matthew J. Schroeder

July 11, 2019

Regulation of Per and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) is increasing at the state and federal level as costly PFAS-related litigation is on the rise throughout the United States. Found in everyday products such as food packaging, stain, water and grease-resistant materials, and nonstick cookware, as well as being present on virtually all military bases and airports, the prevalence of PFAS combined with the heightened awareness of the public and the plaintiffs’ bar, make private equity funds and their portfolio companies prime targets for litigation and regulation.

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EPA Dips Toes Into PFAS Drinking Water

Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP
Jeffrey J. Davidson, David L. McGrath and Craig A. Moyer

April 30, 2019

On April 25, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Draft Interim Recommendations to Address Groundwater Contaminated with Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) for public review and comment. The comment period ends on June 10, 2019.

PFOA and PFOS are two substances within the much larger group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), man-made chemicals that historically were widely used and presently are used across the country every day in a wide array of consumer and industrial products. Water resources known to have been contaminated by PFOA and PFOS are associated with releases from manufacturing sites, industrial sites, fire/crash training areas, and industrial or municipal waste sites where products are disposed of or applied. PFAS are highly resistant to degradation and are extremely persistent in the environment as well as in organisms, including human beings.

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Just In Case You Wondered Whether PFAS Are Really A Big Deal

Foley Hoag LLP
Seth D. Jaffe

April 8, 2019

If you were thinking that PFAS were important, but you’ve been unsure just how big a deal they are, you need look no further than the Statewide PFAS Directive issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Some of my colleagues in New Jersey may correct me, but I think that the Directive may be the most wide-ranging order I’ve ever seen issued by an environmental agency. (And I know that NJDEP denies that the Directive is in fact an “order.” Can you say “walks like a duck”?)

The Directive represents NJDEP’s attempt to frame a comprehensive approach towards the contamination resulting from the use of PFAS in New Jersey. That’s all well and good. Nonetheless, it’s not obvious that significant concerns about PFAS are enough to justify this Directive. Here are some of the provisions that might give one pause.

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PFAS UPDATE – EPA’s Action Plan and PFAS Plans for Other States

Synergy Environmental, Inc.
David Robinson, Chris Horan, Brian Loughnane, Brink Young

March 21, 2019

In February, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new action plan to address a group of emerging contaminants know as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

This Action Plan describes  the EPA’s approach to identifying and understanding PFAS; understanding current PFAS contamination, preventing future contamination and communicating with the public about PFAS.

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Pennsylvania’s First PFAS Advisory Meeting Summary

Synergy Environmental, Inc.
Brian Loughnane, P.G
Bloughna@synergyenvinc.com

January 8, 2019

Much is being discussed in the news throughout Pennsylvania about Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS), which are part of a larger group of chemicals referred to as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).  Concern exists about their release into the environment, their health effects and efforts needed to remediate PFAS. To help Pennsylvania residents learn more about PFAS, and to receive input from representatives of government, industry and advocacy groups, the Wolf Administration held its first public meeting of its multi-agency PFAS Action Team Friday, during November 30, 2018.

PADEP PFAS Action Team – 2018

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PFAS – Let’s Let the Science Catch Up

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Daniel J. Grucza

December 10, 2018

Because of their widespread environmental presence, persistence and bioaccumulation, the group of substances known as PFAS have been described as a “Perfect Storm” of liability. The number of plaintiff’s suits concerning PFAS have spiked in the last few years. Also, EPA faces increasing bipartisan calls from Congress to adopt new drinking water standards and cleanup levels. In the interim, states are filling the void. In October 2017, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection announced a maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 14 parts per trillion for PFOA. Some NGO’s have called for levels as low as 1 part per trillion.

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EPA contractors

EPA Extends Deadline For PFAS Comments To September 28, 2018

Holland & Knight
Dianne Phillips and Deborah E. Barnard

September 9, 2018

In the wake of the PFAS National Leadership Summit convened by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 22-23, 2018, EPA opened a public docket to solicit comments on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a category of man-made chemicals that have been widely used to make products because of their stain-resistant, waterproof and/or nonstick properties. Specifically, EPA seeks to obtain information on ongoing efforts to characterize risks from PFAS, as well as develop monitoring and treatment and cleanup techniques, to inform near-term actions needed to address challenges currently facing states and local communities, and to develop risk communication strategies to address public concerns with PFAS. The original comment deadline of July 20, 2018 was recently extended to Sept. 28, 2018.

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