Executive Order: 2018-08 – Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Team

September 21, 2018

Subject: Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Team
Number: 2018-08
By Direction of: Tom Wolf, Governor
Date: September 19, 2018

WHEREAS, Article I, Section 27 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania guarantees the Commonwealth’s citizens the right to clean air, pure water and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment; and

WHEREAS, Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been classified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an emerging contaminant; and

WHEREAS, PFAS are man-made chemicals and have been used in thousands of processes and products across every sector of the United States’ economy; and

WHEREAS, these substances are stable and persistent chemicals, breaking down very slowly in the environment, and are bioaccumulative and toxic; and

WHEREAS, there are public health and environmental concerns regarding PFAS chemicals found in our homes and in our environment, including in contaminated soils, surface water and groundwater, at sites across Pennsylvania; and

WHEREAS, in May 2016, the EPA established a lifetime health advisory level (HAL) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in drinking water of 0.07 micrograms per liter; and

WHEREAS, a cooperative, coordinated and thorough response is necessary to identify, remediate, and mitigate PFAS sources of contamination in the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, it is necessary to comprehensively assess the potential environmental and health effects of PFAS and recommend strategies to reduce or eliminate these impacts; and Executive Order 2018-08 Page 2 of 3

WHEREAS, it is vital that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania create and implement a scientifically-sound, thoughtful, holistic and proactive approach to addressing this emerging contaminant.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Tom Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania do hereby establish the PFAS Action Team and do order and direct the following:

  1. Functions of the PFAS Action Team.
    1. Ensure drinking water is safe. Identify impacted locations and resources and create and implement an action plan to assist state and local authorities and public water systems in delivering safe drinking water.
    2. Manage environmental PFAS contamination. Develop and implement environmental response protocols for all positively identified sites.
    3. Develop specialized site plans, engaging the public and other relevant stakeholders, where appropriate.
    4. Reduce risks to drinking water and the environment from firefighting foam and other sources of PFAS. Identify PFAS uses that are most likely to pose a risk to human health and the environment, such as the use of firefighting foam, industrial releases, carpets, food packaging materials, and other uses. Develop recommendations and actions that can be taken to limit or control these and other sources of PFAS.
    5. Develop a clearinghouse of information on PFAS. Establish a public information site and protocol to effectively inform and educate the public about PFAS.
    6. Establish a standard process for sharing pertinent information between all members of the Task Force.
    7. Explore avenues of funding for remediation efforts.
    8. Engage with academic institutions and experts in the fields such as public health and environmental remediation, among others, when necessary.
  2. Composition of the PFAS Action Team.
    1. The PFAS Action Team shall consist of:
      1. the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, who will serve as the Chairperson of the Action Team;
      2. the Secretary of the Department of Health;
      3. the Secretary of the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs;
      4. the Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development;
      5. the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (PennDOT);
      6. the Secretary of Agriculture; and
      7. the State Fire Commissioner.
    2. The Secretary of the Department of Labor and Industry, the Executive Director of the Fish and Boat Commission, and the Chairperson of the Public Utility Commission may participate in the functions of the PFAS Action Team as requested by the chair.
    3. Each agency Secretary, Executive Director, and Chairperson on the PFAS Action Team may designate an appropriate member of their staff to participate on their behalf.
  3. Effective Date. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately and shall remain in effect until amended or rescinded by the Governor.
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