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Hudson Continues Leadership on GenX Water Contamination

September 6, 2018
September 6, 2018
Hudson Continues Leadership on GenX Water Contamination
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), a leader on the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Environment, continued his leadership to tackle GenX during a Subcommittee hearing to examine per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The hearing was entitled, "Perfluorinated Chemicals in the Environment: An Update on the Response to Contamination and Challenges Presented."
In his opening statement, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden applauded Rep. Hudson's leadership saying, "I understand, from Mr. Hudson, that a similar situation exists in his state and I appreciate his efforts to help North Carolinians." In addition, Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus said, "Many of us are familiar with these substances because of the work of our colleagues, Mr. Tonko, Mr. Upton, and Mr. Hudson, in their districts and states."
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Rep. Hudson chaired the Subcommittee hearing on PFAS water contamination.
Click here to watch Rep. Hudson's opening statement. The transcript is below:
"Thank you Chairman Shimkus and Ranking Member Tonko. I appreciate you holding this hearing today on PFOA and PFAS chemicals. This issue remains a top priority for me and I am looking forward to hearing from our witnesses today.
I want to thank the EPA for agreeing to testify so we can continue to learn more about these chemicals. The EPA recently accepted an invitation to hold its third Community Engagement Summit in my district. Dr. Grevatt, I look forward to hearing from you and what you learned at that summit, as well discussing what plans the EPA has to release a public health advisory specifically for GenX.
I also want to thank Emily Donovan, a fellow North Carolinian who will be testifying on our second panel. Too often we are focused on the technical sides of these issues and forget that at the end of the day, we are talking about real people. And so I look forward to Emily's testimony that will put a human face on this issue, Mr. Chairman.
With that, I yield back."
Click here to watch Rep. Hudson's questioning of Dr. Peter Grevatt, Director of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Mr. HUDSON: Dr. Grevatt, Administrator Pruitt has been here a number of times and I've questioned him each time about this PFAS issue, about GenX in particular and the need to develop a comprehensive plan for containment and removal. The agency responded in April to a letter I followed up with on those two testimonies, saying, "A key priority for the EPA is to further the understanding of human health impacts of PFAS to support states and local communities. The EPA is currently developing human health toxicity information for GenX that will provide a scientific basis for states and communities to set or refine public health goals." So I want to ask you a few questions about that. We only have 5 minutes so I just ask you to be as concise as you can. Can you provide a timeline for when the toxicity value for GenX will be released?
Dr. GREVATT: Yes, sir. We're very close to this now. We expect to in the coming weeks to have that available in draft for public review and comment.
Rep. HUDSON: Okay, thank you for that. Once this toxicity value of GenX is released, can you commit to releasing a public health advisory specifically for GenX? If so, when?
Dr. GREVATT: Thank you, Congressman. We will work closely with the states to determine what will be most helpful to them. For example, on GenX specifically, with regard to North Carolina, we are working side by side with them and want to make sure that we're providing them the support they need. And, sir, I might just add that we appreciate your invitation to come to Fayetteville. We appreciate your participation in that event. And that in particular, along with the others we found to be tremendously valuable so thank you very much for your leadership on that.
Mr. HUDSON: Well thank you. I will just stress that I think the public health advisory is really the next step in the process once we get those toxicity numbers to really help the state understand what we need to do going forward. So I appreciate you working so closely with the state. Based on my past discussions with EPA officials, I understand EPA is working very closely with North Carolina officials with the state. And I get that feedback from the state. Are you aware of any outstanding questions or information that EPA still owes to the state of North Carolina?
Dr. GREVATT: I think there are ongoing conversations with the state of North Carolina addressing all kinds of issues, including stack testing at the Chemours facility, sampling in the Cape Fear watershed. And so I think those discussions are ongoing so I'm reluctant to say there's nothing outstanding because there's a lot that's going on and we remain committed to supporting the state throughout this process.
Mr. HUDSON: Appreciate that. My understanding is there are over 20 other chemicals besides GenX that were found in the Cape Fear basin. Is that part of this ongoing discussion – looking at those chemicals as well?
Dr. GREVATT: Yes, sir.
Mr. HUDSON: Can we expect to have those results this month, as well, in the draft form? Or is that going to be later?
Dr. GREVATT: Those results - I want to make sure I understand specifically your question. We're going to have the GenX toxicity assessment in the coming weeks available, and then we will have the national management plan. Our goal is to have that completed by the end of the calendar year. That'll be a comprehensive view across EPA's actions in conjunction with the state to address these issues.
Mr. HUDSON: Great. Again, I appreciate you accepting my invitation to come to Fayetteville for the community engagement. I understand you're doing those around the country in other communities. Can you provide us just a few brief takeaways from our Community Engagement Summit
Dr. GREVATT: Yes, sir. Thank you. As I mentioned, in the case of Fayetteville, I heard from over 50 citizens about the concerns they face and the concerns are very significant. They range from concerns about protecting families, their children, to economic impacts of the decisions. We heard from folks in Wilmington as well who came up and talked about the economic impact on the very important work that the drinking water utility is doing to put in drinking water treatment and concerns about how they're going to pay for these actions. Extensive concerns were addressed and we will remain committed to working closely with the community in Fayetteville, the state of North Carolina, and the community of Wilmington on addressing those issues going forward.
Mr. HUDSON: We appreciate that very much. Is there any information you learned that you think help moved you forward in terms of examining the chemical?
Dr. GREVATT: I think, again reiterating the point on risk communication. In the case of North Carolina because they themselves have been working towards a health value on GenX, we heard from them very clearly how important it is to be closely coordinated and we are working side by side with them in every step of this process.
Mr. HUDSON: I appreciate that. One other issue I'm trying to wrap my brain around – maybe you can help me with it. In your opinion, what is the lowest allowable and scientifically reliable level at which PFAS can be detected and monitored at?
Dr. GREVATT: In terms of the reliable level where it can be detected, I think we're down into the single digits of parts per trillion that can be monitored. In part, that's a result of the national study that we did to build lab capacity across the country. This continues to advance, but I think we're in the single digits of parts per trillion for these compounds.
In addition, Rep. Hudson questioned the second panel of witnesses, which can be viewed here. An excerpt from that transcript is below:
"I'd like to first again thank Ms. Donovan for being here – very compelling testimony. I appreciate you sharing your personal story – the story of our neighbors. Ms. Issacs, I was encouraged reading your testimony and hearing from you today. I think one of the underscores I'd like to make is the bipartisanship that we've seen in Michigan that I believe we've seen in North Carolina. It's very important here. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. It needs to be bipartisan. We need a bipartisan approach, and that's something in North Carolina we've certainly tried to do."
Rep. Hudson continues to be on the front lines of this issue. On August 14, Rep. Hudson arranged for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to hold a per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) community engagement event in Fayetteville. Rep. Hudson invited the EPA to hold a community engagement event so the EPA can hear directly from constituents to take action on PFAS.
Once the event was confirmed, he invited Michael S. Regan, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, to attend the PFAS community engagement event in Fayetteville to further coordinate efforts between federal, state, and local leaders. To read that letter, click here.
On June 21, Rep. Hudson sent a letter to the former EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, encouraging the EPA to consider visiting North Carolina as part of their continued work on PFAS. Rep. Hudson invited the EPA to visit the eighth district, specifically Fayetteville. To read that letter, click here.
In April, he questioned the Administrator Pruitt on GenX and continued his efforts to monitor reports of GenX in areas along the Cape Fear River, to encourage the swift collection and evaluation of data, and to help ensure appropriate measures are taken. To watch Rep. Hudson's questioning of Administrator Pruitt, click here.
On March 6, Rep. Hudson sent a letter to Administrator Scott Pruitt to encourage a thorough examination of GenX that would help develop a comprehensive plan for containment and removal of GenX. To read the letter, click here. The agency responded on April 24, saying, "A key priority for the EPA is to further the understanding of human health impacts of PFAS to support states and local communities. The EPA is currently developing human health toxicity information for GenX that will provide a scientific basis for states and communities to set or refine public health goals." To read that letter, click here.
This letter followed Rep. Hudson's questioning of Administrator Pruitt at a Subcommittee on Environment hearing on December 7, 2017. To watch those questions, click here.