McMorris Rodgers, Blunt Rochester Introduced Bill to Strengthen Safety of America’s Drinking Water Systems

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL) introduced H.R. 5361, the Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act to strengthen federal and state efforts to improve the safety of our nation’s drinking water systems.
 
“Everyone should have the confidence that their drinking water is clean and safe, but as we’ve experienced in Eastern Washington in the last few years, more needs to be done to prevent PFAS and other chemicals from contaminating local water supplies,” said McMorris Rodgers. “This bipartisan legislation will push federal agencies to respond to current water contamination situations and give them the tools for faster responses in the future. Thank you, Rep. Blunt Rochester, for your leadership on this important issue.”  
 
“Every person in this country deserves to have clean, safe drinking water. PFAS and other contaminants in our drinking water threaten the health and safety of communities in Delaware and around this country,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester, a member of the House Energy & Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee. “This is a problem that requires Congressional action, and I am proud to lead this critical, bipartisan effort with Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers. I will continue to fight every day to protect Delawarean’s health and safety.”
 
NOTE: This bipartisan bill will create a national strategy to coordinate the federal response to and scientific research on emerging contaminants and provide assistance to states in responding to public health challenges posed by potentially harmful materials.
 
Under the Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to routinely identify and analyze emerging contaminants and provide guidance to states, local officials, and the public about the potential public health risks and acceptable contamination levels for these materials.
 
There is a critical need to address exposure to these contaminants and address any potential adverse health effects or greater impact on our communities. The Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act would remove the barriers limiting federal and state response to emerging contaminants, expediting the analysis of these harmful chemicals, and providing much-needed guidance and support to states to help ensure that the nation’s drinking water will always be safe.
 
H.R. 5361 is the House companion to S. 1251, introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Rob Portman (OH).
 
The Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act will:
  • Direct EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services to convene an interagency task force to improve federal efforts to identify and respond to emerging contaminants. 
  • Direct the Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop an interagency federal research strategy to improve the identification, analysis, and treatment methods for emerging contaminants. 
  • Direct EPA to create a voluntary state assistance program to provide federal support and technical assistance to communities that have emerging contaminants in their water supply. 
  • Establish and maintain a comprehensive database of resources available to assist states and water stakeholders with testing for emerging contaminants.
 
The full text of the bill can be found here
 
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