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Senator Gillibrand calls on EPA to hold meeting for New Yorkers affected by contaminated water

STAFF REPORTS



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to hold a meeting to hear directly from New Yorkers who have been affected by the harmful contaminants known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The water supplies in numerous communities across New York are still contaminated by these chemicals, which are proven to have harmful effects on human and environmental health. The EPA is currently drafting a PFAS cleanup plan and has met with communities in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and North Carolina.

“Families and communities all over New York State have suffered from toxic water contamination, and the EPA has a responsibility to listen to their concerns, respond to them, and address this crisis,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “I urge the EPA to do the right thing and give New Yorkers the opportunity they deserve to talk directly to the EPA about their experiences. No New Yorker should ever have to worry that their water is going to make them sick, and I will continue to do everything in my power in the Senate to ensure that our water supplies are clean and safe.”

Gillibrand successfully secured $45 million for PFAS cleanup in the Fiscal Year 2019 Defense-Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Act, which passed the Senate this week. This funding would help communities that have suffered from PFAS contamination as a result of activity from the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard, such as Newburgh, New York, which faces contamination due to activity from the Stewart Air National Guard Base. Gillibrand also successfully fought to get communities in New York State with PFAS contamination designated as federal Superfund sites, ensuring that the responsible parties are held accountable and will help with the expensive remediation and cleanup of contaminated soil and water. She helped secure millions of dollars in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a nationwide study on PFAS health effects, and demanded that the Trump Administration release the Department of Health and Human Services study it was trying to hide that revealed that the minimal risk level for human exposure to PFOA and PFOS, two types of PFAS, should be seven to 10 times lower than the level previous recommended as safe by the EPA.

A copy of Senator Gillibrand’s letter may be found HERE.