By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) recently announced the release of its PFAS Prevention Model Act, which is intended to reduce the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). According to NEWMOA, it worked with a group of state officials from the northeast to develop the draft legislation. NEWMOA states that the goals of the draft legislation are to:
- Reduce/eliminate the use of PFAS in consumer products to the extent feasible;
- Identify and implement source reduction programs;
- Ensure that the substitutes for PFAS in products are safer and that there are no regrettable substitutes;
- Coordinate product disclosure, labeling, bans, phase-outs, source reduction, and end-of-life collection on a multi-state basis;
- Help consumers identify products containing PFAS and learn how to properly handle them; and
- Provide regulated entities with regulatory certainty.
NEWMOA states that the model “provides a comprehensive framework to help jurisdictions develop more consistent approaches to addressing PFAS and PFAS-containing products” and that product manufacturers will “benefit from having more consistent requirements throughout the region and nationally.”
The draft legislation presents a menu of policy options for state policy makers to consider. The draft model includes provisions and concepts that reflect current efforts to reduce PFAS use and minimize PFAS releases. NEWMOA notes that “[t]he designers do not view the model as a set of provisions that must all be enacted together or at the same time. The model is designed to present a flexible set of concepts/options from which the jurisdiction policy makers can choose those that meet their jurisdictional priorities.” NEWMOA states that it is important that jurisdictions implement their efforts as consistently as possible for each option implemented, however.
NEWMOA states that it has an overarching goal of the “virtual elimination of the environmental releases of PFAS into the environment.” It welcomes comment on all aspects of the draft model legislation, and especially invites comment on:
- Key definitions, including the definitions for “Intentionally Added PFAS” and “PFAS Added Products”;
- The provisions in “Currently unavoidable uses of PFAS” in Section 6(c) of the draft model legislation; and
- The mechanisms for funding the costs of administering the provisions of the draft model legislation, including establishment of the Clearinghouse in Section 4.
Comments on the draft legislation are due June 29, 2023. NEWMOA will host a webinar on May 10, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. (EDT) to provide an overview of the draft legislation. Registration for the webinar is open.