After the U.S. Supreme Court decision, environmentalists are concerned about forever chemical regulations

CHARLESTON (WOWK) – A U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn a precedent that has been in place for 40 years is raising concern about the future of environmental regulation, such as the the first ever national drinking regulations.

This rule will protect hundreds of thousands of people against harmful chemicals called PFAs, also known as “forever Chemicals”.

We know they cause cancer. We also know they can cause birth defects. Autumn Crowe is the interim executive director for West Virginia Rivers Coalition. She said that they can cause kidney disease and complications in pregnant women. They are also toxic at low doses. They are used in a lot of useful products, but they don’t break down easily in the environment. That’s why they’re called forever chemicals.

Crowe claims that PFAs were found in 130 raw-water supply systems across West Virginia. The Eastern Panhandle, along with the Ohio River Valley and the Ohio River Valley are the worst contaminated areas.

The state passed the PFAs Protection Act last year. This law requires that the state conduct more testing and develop a plan for lowering the levels of PFAs in our water. Crowe stated that 37 water systems in the state were tested and 19 of them exceeded the new EPA standard.

The federal government adopted its own rules in April that are applicable to all states. According to the federal plan, water systems have until 2029 in order to conform with stricter rules.

A recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court that limits the powers of federal agencies such as the EPA may put the federal regulations in danger months later.

Honey May, a representative of Sierra Club WV Chapter, said, “It seems like science has caught up.” I am very concerned about the impact of this on West Virginia, in terms what it will mean for air quality, water quality, and our electricity bills. Huge questions.”

Crowe admits that reducing PFAs will be costly.

She said, “I encourage people to get involved in their local communities if they are concerned about this issue.” There’s a lot people can do to advocate for stronger regulation, the next steps in addressing the PFAS issue.

Crowe stated that West Virginia Rivers Coalition, DEP and the EPA have received a grant of $1 million to develop action plans. First, the areas that have the most contamination will be targeted. These include the Eastern Panhandle region and the Ohio River Valley. She said that those responsible for the PFAs’ pollution should pay for getting water systems back on track.