In the latest federal legislative move to try to force the EPA to take quicker action than contemplated by the agency’s PFAS Roadmap of 2021, a bill was recently introduced in the House that would require the EPA to set air emission limits for all PFAS under the Clean Air Act. PFAS air regulations are something that advocates concerned about PFAS pollution issues beyond just drinking water have advocated for in the past few years. There are barriers, though, to achieving the desired results even if the legislation passes. Nevertheless, the federal legislative activity underscores the need for all companies that are currently using PFAS in their manufacturing or industrial processes to understand the full scope of compliance needs when and if PFAS air regulations become a reality.
House Bill For PFAS Air Regulations
On March 17, 2022, a bipartisan group in the House introduced the “Prevent Release Of Toxics Emissions, Contamination, and Transfer Act of 2022” (also known as the PROTECT Act of 2022 or HR 7142). The aim of the bill is to require the EPA to list all PFAS as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) under the Clean Air Act. If passed, the designation as HAPs would require the EPA to develop regulatory limits for the emission of PFAS into the air.
The proposed steps, however, go well beyond the EPA’s own plan for potential PFAS air regulations as detailed in the EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap 2021. In the PFAS Roadmap, the EPA indicates that it commits to performing ongoing investigation to:
- Identify sources of PFAS air emissions;
- Develop and finalize monitoring approaches for measuring stack emissions and ambient concentrations of PFAS;
- Develop information on cost-effective mitigation technologies; and
- Increase understanding of the fate and transport of PFAS air emissions to assess their potential for impacting human health via contaminated groundwater and other media pathways.
The EPA committed to using this information and data in order to, by the Fall of 2022, “evaluate mitigation options”, which could include listing “certain PFAS” as HAPs. However, the EPA also indicated that it might use other regulatory or non-regulatory tools to achieve results similar to formal PFAS air regulations under the Clean Air Act.
The National Law Review, 31-03-22