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PFAS Action Act of 2021 and the Clean Air Act



The U.S. House of Representatives passed the PFAS Action Act of 2021 in August, which is now working its way through the United States Senate. The legislation would require the U.S. EPA to administer a national primary drinking water standard for PFAS chemicals within two years. Some of the specific bill highlights include restricting industrial discharges of PFAS; allocating $200 million annually for wastewater treatment; and limiting the incineration of PFAS wastes.

But in addition to its impact on PFAS for drinking water, wastewater, and waste, the PFAS Action Act of 2021 (as currently authored) would also impact air. Specifically, Section 8 of the act would require the listing of PFAS as Hazardous Air Pollutants.

  1. Initial Listing: Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall issue a final rule adding perfluorooctanoic acid and its salts, and perfluoroactanesulfonic acid and its salts, to the list of hazardous air pollutants under section 112(b) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7412(b)).

  2. Additional Listings: Not later than 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall determine whether to issue, in accordance with section 112 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7412), any final rules adding perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, other than those perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances listed pursuant to paragraph (1), to the list of hazardous air pollutants under section 112(b) of such Act.

In addition to listings, the act would also impact sources categories. Not later than 365 days after any final rule is issued pursuant to subsection (a), the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall revise the list under section 112(c)(1) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7412(c)(1)) to include categories and subcategories of major sources and area sources of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances listed pursuant to such final rule.

The PFAS Action Act of 2021 (as approved by the House) will accelerate establishing federal standards for PFAS releases for nine industry categories, including petroleum stations, metal finishing, and electroplating, as well as manufacturers of paint, paper, plastics, electrical components, textiles and chemicals. Per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of man-made chemicals that have been linked to severe health issues, including cancer, immune system effects, infertility, impaired child development, high cholesterol, and thyroid disease. PFAS, known as “forever chemicals” are extremely persistent in the environment.

CFR Environmental has a long track record of providing support related to air permitting, compliance, and reporting projects. CFR’s expertise includes Renewable Operating Permits (ROP), Permits to Install (PTI) and Potential to Emit (PTE) projects for compliance with state and federal regulations. Contact us to learn more about our air consulting services.