Axne Amendment to Assist Community Water Systems

Mr. chairman I have heard from many
parents in my district worried about PFAS contamination in their drinking
water. PFAS are man-made chemicals that can pose serious health risks and
are of great concern to my constituents. In large quantities, PFAS are dangerous and deadly to human health and these “forever chemicals” are going to take a lot of work and innovation to clean up. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, immune system effects and impaired child development. While PFAS chemicals have not been found in the water supply in my district,
there is a known contamination site. Our community has stepped up and is working together through a PFAS Working Group to address this contamination and
conduct further testing, but it’s past time that the federal government steps
in stops the production of these dangerous chemicals requires cleanup and
provides resources to ensure that our communities aren’t left to fight this
alone. Our public water utilities provide a critical service to our communities by
ensuring families have safe and clean drinking water, however without proper support many water utilities won’t be able to afford
the necessary upgrades or would be forced to put the cost back on the backs
of their community. I’m glad that this legislation creates a grant program to
provide funding for water utilities to upgrade their drinking water systems in
order to effectively remove PFAS. The PFAS Infrastructure Grant Program will ensure
utilities have the resources they need to protect our water systems without
burdening the communities they serve with unaffordable expense. However, as the bill is written now, the PFAS Infrastructure Grant Program would only be authorized for two years. Our communities need more flexibility and
time when deciding the best way to upgrade their water infrastructure and
to combat PFAS. So my amendment would extend the PFAS Infrastructure Grant Program for an additional three years allowing water
utilities time to properly address their needs, test their water, and request
funding as necessary. Additionally my amendment would increase the funding
available by $300 million over that three-year period. By
more than doubling the current authorized amount my
amendment would ensure there are enough funds available so utilities can afford
these necessary upgrades without negatively impacting the critical work
that they do. My state of Iowa also has many rural drinking water systems that
don’t have the scale to afford massive infrastructure costs. We see time and time again that smaller water systems are unable to remove hazardous and dangerous materials simply because of cost barriers. And I’m pleased that the
underlying bill prioritizes small drinking water systems and my amendment
ensures the program has enough funding so no community is left behind. This
legislation is an important step to ensure Iowa families have access to safe
drinking water without these harmful PFAS chemicals. My amendment strengthens the PFAS Infrastructure Grant Program and I urge a yes vote. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time

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