Senator says EPA should come here

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) urged the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to come to West Virginia and host a community meeting to hear from West Virginians who have been impacted by contamination caused by per- and polyflouralkyls (PFAS).

 Senator Manchin said in part: “Earlier this year, on April 13, 2018, I joined my colleagues in encouraging your agency to issue a Maximum Contaminant Level for PFAS, such as perflourooctaonic acid (PFOA).  This is a chemical that is responsible for ongoing contamination and the resulting public health challenges in the West Virginia communities of Martinsburg, Parkersburg and Vienna for some time.  Subsequently, on May 16, 2018, I urged the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Mick Mulvaney, to release a draft Toxicological Profile for Perflouroalkyls completed by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR).   This draft study shows that PFAS poses risks to human health at lower levels than the current EPA advisory of 70 parts per trillion.”

Read the full letter below:

 Dear Administrator Pruitt,

 I write to request the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notice and host a community meeting in West Virginia to hear from citizens of my home state who have been affected by contamination caused by per- and polyflouralkyls (PFAS).  While I am encouraged by your agency’s National Leadership Summit and efforts to develop a PFAS Management Plan, I believe it is imperative that your agency has a comprehensive understanding of the considerable and persistent effects that these chemicals are having on the health of our communities. 

 Earlier this year, on April 13, 2018, I joined my colleagues in encouraging your agency to issue a Maximum Contaminant Level for PFAS, such as perflourooctaonic acid (PFOA).  This is a chemical that is responsible for ongoing contamination and the resulting public health challenges in the West Virginia communities of Martinsburg, Parkersburg and Vienna for some time.  Subsequently, on May 16, 2018, I urged the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Mick Mulvaney, to release a draft Toxicological Profile for Perflouroalkyls completed by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR).   This draft study shows that PFAS poses risks to human health at lower levels than the current EPA advisory of 70 parts per trillion.

 While this document is still undergoing a public comment period, the initial conclusions made by the scientists and researchers at ATSDR are very concerning and substantiate our desire for additional action by the federal government to address the PFAS use and contamination.   Given the unique scope and scale of the contamination in West Virginia, it is imperative that the EPA visit these communities to truly understand the problem and the urgency with which we must move to address it.  

I, therefore, request that the EPA schedule and notice a meeting in West Virginia in an effort to better inform the development of the PFAS Management Plan and to understand the vital need for additional federal action on these chemicals.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to receiving your response.