Rep. Tlaib Leads Successful PFAS Amendment with Reps. Barragán & Ocasio-Cortez to Help Disadvantaged, Frontline Communities

January 10, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, an amendment introduced by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) to ensure that communities that have been disproportionately impacted by pollution, climate change, and environmental destruction receive the priority funding they need and deserve to rebuild infrastructure and deal with PFAS contamination, was successfully passed by the House of Representatives. The amendment was co-sponsored by Reps. Nannette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14). 

The amendment was made to H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act, which aims to clean up communities affected by PFAS chemicals – harmful chemicals that have been found in areas across the country. The amendment prioritizes disadvantaged communities to receive funding for infrastructure improvement in the effort to clean up these chemicals. Those communities include indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, those living in poverty, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth.

“PFAS chemicals have been found in two areas in the county I represent. Too many communities have been left behind and ignored while corporate polluters destroy the health, homes, and livelihoods of our constituents and neighbors. It is important that we work to make these communities across the country healthy and whole. Our amendment will make sure that these communities are first in line for this important effort to protect residents from PFAS contamination. This is environmental justice at work,” said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

“Our amendment makes sure help gets to the people who need it most. Low-income areas and communities of color often bear the greatest pollution burden. This amendment will make sure the need for clean water in our most vulnerable communities will be a priority, not an afterthought,” said Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán of California.

“Today, the House took long overdue action to regulate PFAS chemicals, clean up contamination, and protect public health. Our amendment guarantees that frontline communities, who are disproportionately exposed to these chemicals, are front and center in the legislation,” said Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

H.R. 535 also passed out of the House today and is now headed to the Senate.

Text of the amendment:
Adds the term “disproportionately exposed communities” to “disadvantaged communities.” Disproportionately exposed communities are defined as those in which climate change, pollution, or environmental destruction have exacerbated systemic racial, (10 minutes) (CA) regional, social, environmental, and economic injustices by disproportionately affecting indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, or youth.

A video of Rep. Tlaib speaking about the amendment can be viewed here.

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