Read the full article from the National Law Review
“On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“Act”), a sweeping $1.2 trillion piece of legislation that advances some of President Biden’s campaign promises into action. One component of the legislation is $10 billion set aside specifically for PFAS drinking water issues. While the money is significantly more than any funding ever set aside by the U.S. government to address PFAS issues, the funds will likely represent only a fraction of the money needed to address PFAS issues nationwide. Nevertheless, companies with current or legacy PFAS pollution concerns would be well advised to pay attention to the details of the Act, as well as some of the future economic effects of the $10 billion kick start seeding funding, as the longer-term effects could result in more litigation against PFAS polluters.
The Act, PFAS, and Environmental Justice
The Act recently signed into law establishes three new grant programs that provide funding for various PFAS issues of concern. First, $5 billion was set aside through the Safe Drinking Water Act to assist rural and disadvantaged communities with purchasing ‘point-of-entry or point-of-use filters and filtration systems . . . for the removal of contaminants of concern [from drinking water].’ Second, $4 billion was set aside through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to assist water utilities with their efforts to remove PFAS from drinking water sources. Third, $1 billion is set aside to address PFAS in wastewater discharge concerns, more specifically to help treatment facilities in rural and tribal communities manage PFAS wastewater issues.
What is clear from the language in the Act is the government’s interest in ensuring that the $10 billion in PFAS funding is used in traditionally or currently disadvantaged communities in order to ensure that the funds are not simply allocated to more affluent communities. This falls in line with President Biden and the EPA’s strong push for policies that reflect environmental justice principles – the notion that environmental benefits or remediation efforts should be shared across all communities in the country.”…