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07/24/2024 03:15 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20230&cosponId=40106
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 7, 2023 03:44 PM
From: Senator Maria Collett
To: All Senate members
Subject: Pennsylvania PFAS Classification and Cleanup
 
In the near future, I intend to reintroduce legislation to amend Pennsylvania’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA) to designate certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), specifically those most widely used in firefighting foams, as “hazardous substances” under HSCA. This designation would give harmed parties the standing they currently lack to hold polluters accountable in court. It would also impose more stringent disclosure and reporting standards with respect to these dangerous chemicals and provide the DEP with the funding and authority to investigate and conduct cleanup actions at sites where these chemicals have been released.
 
 
My district knows all too well how desperately needed this legislation is. After decades of regular use of PFAS-containing firefighting foams at local military installations in Horsham Township (Montgomery County) and Warminster Township (Bucks County), these chemicals turned up in highly elevated levels in public and private water wells. Due in large part to the lack of regulation and legislation, nearly 1000 acres of largely unremediated soil continues to pose a threat to my constituents and our environment. And while the Department of Defense (DOD), U.S. Navy, and Air National Guard have been actively monitoring the situation since the contamination was first discovered in 2014 and have assisted municipalities and individuals seeking to connect to alternative drinking water sources, their efforts and legal obligations are limited. 
 
A January 2020 federal court ruling in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania specifically dismissed a PFAS exposure medical monitoring suit against the U.S. Navy because, even though these chemicals are clearly hazardous under any definition, neither the federal EPA nor our Department of Health had “designated” them as “hazardous substances” under HSCA. The judge ruled that meeting the “definition” wasn’t good enough; we need a “designation”. This barrier to individuals, municipalities and indeed our Commonwealth recouping our losses from the polluters must be lifted. 
 
I hope you join me in cosponsoring this crucial legislation, which was introduced last session as SB 612 with Senators Santarsiero, Hughes, Kearney, Comitta, Costa, Kane, Muth and Haywood as sponsors. If you have any questions about this legislation, please contact my Legislative Director at Tom.Holroyd@pasenate.com  
 
 



Introduced as SB612