June 20, 2019
The executive director, Steve Sliver, of the Michigan PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) Action Response Team, known as MPART, traveled to Washington, D.C. last week to testify in support of U.S. House Resolution (HR) 1976, the PFAS Detection Act of 2019.
HR 1976 would provide the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) with $45 million to develop new advanced technologies and standards to detect PFAS and conduct nationwide sampling for PFAS compounds in the environment.
Appearing before the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife, Sliver thanked Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee, the bill's sponsor, for his leadership on the proposed legislation.
"We need national leadership on standards, and federal assistance with the sampling of surface water, groundwater, and soil would be very much appreciated," Sliver said.
Sliver told the subcommittee that Michigan is the only state that has tested every community water supply for PFAS.
"We know that 97 percent of our supplies do not have a PFAS contamination issue today. But that testing did not cover 25 percent of our population on their own private residential well," Sliver noted. "The additional sampling that could done by the USGS as described in this bill could provide much needed data on sources of PFAS contamination and broaden our coverage of the state's and nation's drinking water."
Michigan has already spent roughly $50 million over the past few years to investigate and remediate PFAS contamination.
"We must continue to aggressively clean up PFAS chemicals in our communities and identify other sites where contamination could pose a risk to public health," said Congressman Kildee in March when the bill was introduced.
"This bipartisan bill, supported by Republicans and Democrats, is an important step to make sure that communities in Michigan and across the country can identify PFAS contamination sites and take appropriate action. Ensuring clean drinking water and protecting public health should not be a partisan issue," Kildee added.
While in Washington, Sliver met with Congressman Kildee as well as other members of Michigan's delegation, including Michigan Congressman Jack Bergman and Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, both co-sponsors of the bill, and staff from other offices.
The videotaped hearing includes Sliver's testimony beginning at the 3:13:30 mark.