Lummis Advocates for Rural Water Systems

June 1, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During an Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife hearing, U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) highlighted the regulatory challenges Wyoming water providers face in providing clean and affordable water to our communities. During the hearing, Lummis also spoke about the importance of rural water systems and why this administration needs to delay its latest plan to designate two per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds as hazardous substances, which would open the door to Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) liability, greatly driving up costs for consumers.  

“In my home state of Wyoming, it is a constant struggle for water system operators to meet the needs of their communities. Keeping rates low while simultaneously complying with complex and evolving regulatory requirements from the EPA is a challenge for any system,” said Lummis. “Earlier this year, I introduced a series of bills relating to PFAS liability under CERCLA. Each bill exempts a passive receiver of PFAS that would otherwise bear liability costs if the EPA moves forward with designating certain PFAS compounds as hazardous substances. One sector targeted by these bills is the water sector. The negative impacts these regulations would have on rural water providers would be devastating to local communities.” 

She also questioned witnesses about federal funding mechanisms for water systems and emphasized that rural water systems are often left out of the discussion.  

During the hearing, Senator Lummis was pleased to welcome the Executive Director of the Wyoming Association of Rural Water Systems, Mark Pepper, to testify before the committee. He discussed his concerns about the Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL) changes and the cost impact they will have on those that rely on small water systems.  

For video from the hearing, click here.