Friday, May 24, 2019
Midwest Environmental Advocates supports the proposed Chemical Level Enforcement & Remediation (CLEAR) Act that would provide the Department of Natural Resources with the tools it needs to address per- and polyflouroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination throughout the state.
This much needed bill would expedite the state’s response to this emerging contaminant, whether found in drinking water, groundwater, surface water, air, solid waste, or soil. The CLEAR Act allocates funding to identify contaminated sites, monitor leachate from landfills, conduct a survey of emergency responders who use PFAS-containing firefighting foams, provide clean drinking water when necessary, and otherwise enforce PFAS regulations developed under the bill. Funding is also provided for seven new full-time DNR employees and four new full-time Department of Health Services employees to implement the provisions of the bill.
In addition, the CLEAR Act allows DHS to recommend enforcement standards for PFAS as a class rather than as individual compounds, which is imperative because a piecemeal approach would perhaps delay necessary public health protections indefinitely. More importantly, this bill requires DNR to enforce any recommended standards from DHS to address contaminated drinking water sources immediately, rather than waiting to go through the formal rulemaking process.
Finally, the CLEAR Act requires DNR to promulgate emergency rules regulating the discharge of PFAS into waters of the state, the handling of PFAS as a hazardous waste, the cleanup of contaminated sites, and, if necessary, the emission of PFAS into the atmosphere.
The Legislature should enact this bill without delay and affirm its responsibility to protect the citizens of this state.
More PFAS-related information and resources can be found here.