All the pressure Congress is all of a sudden exerting on the Executive Branch of our Federal Government when it comes to PFAS brings to mind a great line by one of the great comics of my youth. Steve Martin exclaimed "you can be a millionaire and never pay taxes!" How? "First get a million dollars."
The fact is that it has taken the better part of 75 years to create the PFAS quandary we now find ourselves in and, in contravention of the first rule of holes, we're continuing to dig (PFAS continue to have many applications today) even though many are concerned about how deep the hole we already have might be.
To its credit, the Biden Administration EPA has published a broad and ambitious plan to better understand the size of our PFAS "hole" by expeditiously determining, as best it can, the risks actually presented by at least many of the hundreds, if not thousands, of "forever chemicals" collectively known as PFAS, and concurrently moving ahead with regulations to address those risks as they're better understood.
That isn't something that can be done instantly, at least not with any credibility. And no amount of complaining by Congress can change that as a Department of Defense Official told Congress today as reported by Bloomberg Environment.
So perhaps Congress should make sure the experts have the resources they need to do that which the experts determine is prudent but leave it to the experts to determine what should be done when. The billions committed to treatment of drinking water in the recently passed infrastructure bill is a good start.
“Based on what we know today, it will take years to fully define our nationwide cleanup challenges and probably decades before cleanup is complete,” said Richard G. Kidd, who oversees environmental issues in the department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Sustainment.