Brown Opposes Nominee who Repeatedly Failed to Hold PFAS Polluters Accountable for Damage Done to Dayton Drinking Water

Senator Urged Senate to Reject EPA Nominee Peter Wright on Senate Floor

floor speech

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) last night took to the Senate Floor to oppose the nomination of Peter Wright to serve as Assistant Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM). OLEM oversees the EPA’s Superfund program and is responsible for protecting drinking water from hazardous materials like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been found in Dayton drinking water. Brown is opposing Wright’s nomination after he repeatedly failed to hold PFAS polluters accountable for damages done to drinking water in Dayton and across the country, while in leadership at the EPA.

Right now, PFAS chemicals are contaminating water supplies all over the country, including in Dayton, OH. Brown has joined Senators on both sides of the aisle to call on the EPA to officially designate PFAS chemicals as the hazardous substances they are, so that communities like Dayton can access the federal Superfund dollars they need for cleanup and to hold polluters accountable. The Trump administration is continuing to drag its feet on the official PFAS designation, which if declared would allow communities like Dayton to access federal funds to clean up groundwater contamination due to PFAS spills and mandate responsible parties report spills of PFAS and be held liable for cleanup.

Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

Ohioans in the Miami Valley are living with the presence of toxic chemicals known as PFAS contaminating their drinking water – and they’ve been forced to pay for water treatment costs without the help they need.

PFAS chemicals are contaminating water supplies all over the country. It’s why Senators on both sides of the aisle have called on the EPA to officially designate PFAS chemicals as the hazardous substances they are, so communities like Dayton can access the federal funds they need for cleanup and hold polluters accountable.

But this administration has dragged its feet.

Peter Wright has been at EPA for a year, and under his leadership the agency released a “PFAS Action Plan” that included very little action.

Now they expect the Senate to reward this inaction by confirming him to oversee EPA’s Superfund program.  That’s unacceptable.

Someone who has repeatedly failed to hold polluters accountable for the damage they’ve done to drinking water in Dayton and across the country has no business serving in a leadership role at EPA

This isn’t a partisan issue.

Earlier this year I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues in introducing legislation requiring the EPA to step up and declare these chemicals as hazardous substances. And last year I demanded the government release its federal study of PFAS chemicals and how safe they really are.

Residents in Dayton and other communities shouldn’t have to worry about the safety of their water supply. And Ohioans deserve answers from the government that is supposed to protect them.

I want to thank my colleague Senator Carper for his leadership on this. I urge all my colleagues to oppose Peter Wright’s nomination, and demand a nominee who will take the job seriously when it comes to protecting Ohioans’ drinking water.

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