Carper Statement on EPA’s Decision Not to Regulate Perchlorate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defied a court order, withdrew its 2011 regulatory determination and made a final decision not to regulate perchlorate under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Perchlorate is a toxic chemical found in rocket propellant, explosives, fireworks, road flares and ammunition. A potent neurotoxin, studies have found that perchlorate is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and growing children.

“After years of inaction, EPA has abdicated its responsibility to set federal drinking water standards for a chemical long known to be unsafe, instead leaving it up to states to decide whether or not to protect people from it. Even though EPA previously determined that this dangerous chemical needed to be regulated, the agency has now decided to ignore science that it finds inconvenient and reverse its earlier finding. This is an all too common and disturbing pattern of action for this EPA.

“Today, EPA Administrator Wheeler praised states for taking action to protect people from perchlorate—action that the agency refuses to take. The administrator’s praise for ‘local success stories’ does not redress the agency’s failure to act responsibly, nor does it redeem the agency’s failure to perform its most basic mission to protect human health in all areas of the country. States are taking action to regulate perchlorate because of EPA’s inaction, using the same rigorous scientific evidence that EPA has willfully ignored in today’s decision. Those success stories are purely the result of EPA’s failure to lead.”