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U.S.EPA Announces National “PFAS Action Plan”

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.EPA) acting Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, held a press conference at EPA Region III in Horsham, Pennsylvania on Feb. 14, 2019, to announce the U.S.EPA’s PFAS Action Plan. Wheeler indicated that similar announcements of and press conferences relating to the PFAS Action Plan were being held simultaneously in each of the U.S.EPA’s ten regional offices, underlying the importance of the announcement. Wheeler stated that the Agency’s plan was the most comprehensive cross-agency plan introduced by the U.S.EPA.

Acting Administrator Wheeler highlighted five key elements of the PFAS Action Plan:

  1. U.S.EPA has initiated actions to develop a Maximum Contaminant Level, or MCL, for PFAS, and specifically for two PFAS compounds, PFOS and PFOA, by the end of 2019. Wheeler stated that this would be the first substance to have an MCL established since the Safe Drinking Water Act was amended in 1996. Wheeler added that the U.S.EPA maintains that the 70 parts per trillion (ppt) standard is a federally enforceable groundwater standard, despite misconceptions to the contrary. 

  2. U.S.EPA will continue to pursue enforcement actions utilizing the existing Health Advisory Level for PFAS of 70 ppt or 70 nanograms per liter.

  3. U.S.EPA will expand monitoring and data gathering related to PFAS, including adding PFAS to the toxics release inventory, which should generate additional information on the extent of PFAS in the industry and in the environment. Wheeler indicated that U.S.EPA is using enhanced mapping tools to identify where and in what communities PFAS is in the groundwater and in the environment. 

  4. U.S.EPA will expand research into the impacts of PFAS on human health and the environment, studying fate and transport issues associated with PFAS. Wheeler stated that U.S.EPA wants to “close the gap” on the science related to PFAS, including the more recently manufactured perfluourinated compound known as “GenX”,

  5. U.S.EPA will develop a “risk communication toolbox” that will provide information to the public and the regulated community more clearly.

Copyright © 2019 Godfrey & Kahn S.C.

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Arthur J Harrington environmental law attorney godfrey & Kahn Lawn Firm
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Art is chair of the firm's Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Law Practice Group and a member of the Environmental & Energy Law Practice Group. He has a reputation for representing a diverse cross-section of clients including Fortune 500 business, municipal, land trust, tribal and state agency clients to accomplish their respective environmental and energy goals. This diverse client mix provides him with a unique perspective for achieving client goals in often complex environmental and energy engagements. Art is particularly proud of his role where he has utilized his diverse...

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Daniel Narvey, Godfrey Kahn Law Firm, Litigation Attorney
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Daniel Narvey is an associate in the Milwaukee office and a member of the firm's Litigation Practice Group.

During law school, Daniel worked on litigation and policy matters for the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, served as an intern with the Federal Public Defender of the Eastern District of North Carolina, and worked as a law clerk at the Cook County Public Defender in Chicago. Daniel also served as Senior Lead Editor for the Alaska Law Review.

Prior to law school, Daniel worked for Epic Systems Corporation in Madison, where he consulted with large hospital systems transitioning to electronic medical records.

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Edward (Ned) B. Witte, Godfrey Khanm Environmental Lawyer
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Ned Witte is shareholder in the Environmental Strategies Practice Group. He represents clients in the service and manufacturing industries as well as government bodies in a wide range of environmental matters across Wisconsin, nationally and globally.

In September of 2015, Ned Witte was named the 2016 Best Lawyers®Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Milwaukee. Attorneys honored as “Lawyers of the Year” have received particularly high ratings for their abilities, professionalism and integrity based on exhaustive peer-review...

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