Text: S.914 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (04/24/2017)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 914 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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115th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                 S. 914

   To improve and coordinate interagency Federal actions and provide 
 assistance to States for responding to public health challenges posed 
           by emerging contaminants, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             April 24, 2017

  Mrs. Shaheen (for herself and Mr. Portman) introduced the following 
bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment 
                            and Public Works

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
   To improve and coordinate interagency Federal actions and provide 
 assistance to States for responding to public health challenges posed 
           by emerging contaminants, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act 
of 2017''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--
            (1) safe and clean drinking water is essential to the 
        health, well-being, comfort, and standard of living of every 
        person of the United States;
            (2) emerging contaminants in drinking water systems are 
        increasingly being detected at low levels;
            (3) prolonged exposure to unregulated drinking water 
        contaminants, including emerging contaminants, may pose human 
        health risks, particularly to vulnerable populations;
            (4) the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300f et seq.), 
        requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection 
        Agency--
                    (A) to periodically make regulatory determinations 
                with respect to unregulated contaminants; and
                    (B) not less frequently than once every 5 years, to 
                identify and publish a description of unregulated 
                contaminants that may require regulation;
            (5) in a 2011 report of the Government Accountability 
        Office, the Comptroller General of the United States found, 
        with respect to unregulated drinking water contaminants, that--
                    (A) the Administrator has made limited progress in 
                prioritizing drinking water contaminants based on 
                greatest public health concern;
                    (B) the lack of data relating to the exposure of 
                the public to potentially harmful drinking water 
                contaminants and the related health effects of that 
                exposure continues to limit the ability of the 
                Administrator to make regulatory determinations; and
                    (C) in many cases, gathering sufficient data to 
                address contaminants awaiting regulatory determinations 
                by the Administrator has taken the Administrator more 
                than 10 years, and obtaining data on other contaminants 
                that are currently awaiting regulatory determinations 
                may take decades;
            (6) in the 2016 Drinking Water Action Plan of the 
        Environmental Protection Agency, the Administrator recommended 
        that the Government and key water stakeholders strengthen the 
        effectiveness of drinking water health advisories through 
        enhanced collaboration and increased focus on risk management 
        and risk communication approaches; and
            (7) it is vital that legislators, regulatory officials, 
        public water system owners and operators, scientists, and 
        environmental advocacy groups continue to work to ensure that 
        the public water systems of the United States are among the 
        safest in the world.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Administrator.--The term ``Administrator'' means the 
        Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
            (2) Contaminant.--The term ``contaminant'' means any 
        physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or 
        matter in water.
            (3) Contaminant of emerging concern; emerging 
        contaminant.--The terms ``contaminant of emerging concern'' and 
        ``emerging contaminant'' mean a contaminant--
                    (A) for which the Administrator has not promulgated 
                a national primary drinking water regulation; and
                    (B) that may have an adverse effect on the health 
                of individuals.
            (4) Federal research strategy.--The term ``Federal research 
        strategy'' means the interagency Federal research strategy 
        developed under section 4(c)(1)(A)(i).
            (5) Working group.--The term ``Working Group'' means the 
        Working Group established under section 4(b)(1).

SEC. 4. RESEARCH AND COORDINATION PLAN FOR ENHANCED RESPONSE ON 
              EMERGING CONTAMINANTS.

    (a) In General.--The Administrator shall--
            (1) review Federal efforts--
                    (A) to identify, monitor, and assist in the 
                development of treatment methods for emerging 
                contaminants; and
                    (B) to assist States in responding to the human 
                health challenges posed by contaminants of emerging 
                concern; and
            (2) in collaboration with owners and operators of public 
        water systems, States, and other interested stakeholders, 
        establish a strategic plan for improving the Federal efforts 
        referred to in paragraph (1).
    (b) Interagency Working Group on Emerging Contaminants.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Administrator and the Secretary of 
        Health and Human Services shall jointly establish a Working 
        Group to coordinate the activities of the Federal Government to 
        identify and analyze the public health effects of drinking 
        water contaminants of emerging concern.
            (2) Membership.--The Working Group shall include 
        representatives of the following:
                    (A) The Environmental Protection Agency, appointed 
                by the Administrator.
                    (B) The following agencies, appointed by the 
                Secretary of Health and Human Services:
                            (i) The National Institutes of Health.
                            (ii) The Centers for Disease Control and 
                        Prevention.
                            (iii) The Agency for Toxic Substances and 
                        Disease Registry.
                    (C) The United States Geological Survey, appointed 
                by the Secretary of the Interior.
                    (D) Any other Federal agency the assistance of 
                which the Administrator determines to be necessary to 
                carry out this subsection, appointed by the head of the 
                respective agency.
            (3) Existing working group.--The Administrator may expand 
        or modify the duties of an existing working group to perform 
        the duties of the Working Group under this subsection.
    (c) National Emerging Contaminant Research Initiative.--
            (1) Federal research strategy.--
                    (A) In general.--Not later than 90 days after the 
                date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the 
                Office of Science and Technology Policy (referred to in 
                this subsection as the ``Director'') shall coordinate 
                with the heads of the agencies described in 
                subparagraph (C) to establish a National Emerging 
                Contaminant Research Initiative that shall develop--
                            (i) an interagency Federal research 
                        strategy that specifies and prioritizes the 
                        short-term and long-term research necessary to 
                        improve the identification, analysis, 
                        monitoring, and treatment methods of 
                        contaminants of emerging concern; and
                            (ii) any necessary program, policy, or 
                        budget to support the implementation of the 
                        Federal research strategy, including mechanisms 
                        for joint agency review of research proposals, 
                        for interagency cofunding of research 
                        activities, and for information sharing across 
                        agencies.
                    (B) Research on emerging contaminants.--In carrying 
                out subparagraph (A), the Director shall--
                            (i) take into consideration consensus 
                        conclusions from peer-reviewed, pertinent 
                        research on emerging contaminants; and
                            (ii) in consultation with the 
                        Administrator, identify priority emerging 
                        contaminants for research emphasis.
                    (C) Federal participation.--The agencies described 
                in this subparagraph include--
                            (i) the National Science Foundation;
                            (ii) the National Institutes of Health;
                            (iii) the Environmental Protection Agency;
                            (iv) the National Institute of Standards 
                        and Technology;
                            (v) the United States Geological Survey; 
                        and
                            (vi) any other Federal agency that 
                        contributes to research in water quality, 
                        environmental exposures, and public health, as 
                        determined by the Director.
                    (D) Nongovernmental participation.--In carrying out 
                subparagraph (A), the Director shall consult with 
                nongovernmental organizations and science and research 
                institutions determined by the Director to have 
                scientific or material interest in the National 
                Emerging Contaminant Research Initiative.
            (2) Implementation of research recommendations.--
                    (A) In general.--Not later than 1 year after the 
                date on which the Director completes the Federal 
                research strategy, the head of each agency described in 
                paragraph (1)(C) shall--
                            (i) issue a solicitation for research 
                        proposals consistent with the Federal research 
                        strategy; and
                            (ii) make grants to applicants that submit 
                        research proposals selected by the National 
                        Emerging Contaminant Research Initiative in 
                        accordance with subparagraph (B).
                    (B) Selection of research proposals.--The National 
                Emerging Contaminant Research Initiative shall select 
                research proposals to receive grants under this 
                paragraph on the basis of merit, using criteria 
                identified by the Director, including the likelihood 
                that the proposed research will result in significant 
                progress toward achieving the objectives identified in 
                the Federal research strategy.
                    (C) Eligible entities.--Any entity or group of two 
                or more entities may submit to the head of each agency 
                described in paragraph (1)(C) a research proposal in 
                response to the solicitation for research proposals 
                described in subparagraph (A), including--
                            (i) State and local agencies;
                            (ii) public institutions, including public 
                        institutions of higher education;
                            (iii) private corporations; and
                            (iv) nonprofit organizations.
    (d) Federal Assistance and Support for States.--
            (1) Study.--
                    (A) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the 
                date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall 
                conduct a study on actions the Administrator can take 
                to increase assistance and support for States that 
                require testing facilities for emerging contaminants in 
                drinking water samples.
                    (B) Contents of study.--In carrying out the study 
                described in subparagraph (A), the Administrator shall 
                identify--
                            (i) methods to increase technical 
                        assistance on emerging contaminants to States, 
                        including identifying opportunities for States 
                        to improve communication with various audiences 
                        about the risks associated with emerging 
                        contaminants;
                            (ii) means to facilitate access to 
                        qualified contract testing laboratory 
                        facilities that conduct analyses for emerging 
                        contaminants; and
                            (iii) actions to be carried out at existing 
                        Federal laboratory facilities, including the 
                        research facilities of the Administrator, to 
                        provide analytical support for States that 
                        require testing facilities for emerging 
                        contaminants.
            (2) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to 
        Congress a report describing the results of the study described 
        in paragraph (1).
            (3) Program to provide federal assistance to states.--
                    (A) In general.--Not later than 3 years after the 
                date of enactment of this Act, based on the findings in 
                the report described in paragraph (2), the 
                Administrator shall develop a program to provide 
                assistance to eligible States for the testing and 
                analysis of emerging contaminants.
                    (B) Application.--
                            (i) In general.--To be eligible for 
                        assistance under this paragraph, a State shall 
                        submit to the Administrator an application at 
                        such time, in such manner, and containing such 
                        information as the Administrator may require.
                            (ii) Criteria.--The Administrator shall 
                        evaluate an application for assistance under 
                        this paragraph on the basis of merit using 
                        criteria identified by the Administrator, 
                        including--
                                    (I) the laboratory facilities 
                                available to the State;
                                    (II) the availability and 
                                applicability of existing analytical 
                                methodologies;
                                    (III) the potency and severity of 
                                the emerging contaminant, if known; and
                                    (IV) the prevalence and magnitude 
                                of the emerging contaminant.
                            (iii) Prioritization.--In selecting States 
                        to receive assistance under this paragraph, the 
                        Administrator--
                                    (I) shall give priority to States 
                                with affected areas primarily in 
                                financially distressed communities; and
                                    (II) may--
                                            (aa) waive the application 
                                        process in an emergency 
                                        situation; and
                                            (bb) require an abbreviated 
                                        application process for the 
                                        continuation of past monitoring 
                                        support.
                    (C) Database of available resources.--The 
                Administrator shall establish and maintain a database 
                of resources available through the program developed 
                under subparagraph (A) to assist States with testing 
                for emerging contaminants that--
                            (i) is--
                                    (I) available to States and 
                                stakeholder groups determined by the 
                                Administrator to have scientific or 
                                material interest in emerging 
                                contaminants, including--
                                            (aa) drinking water and 
                                        wastewater utilities;
                                            (bb) laboratories;
                                            (cc) Federal and State 
                                        emergency responders;
                                            (dd) State primacy 
                                        agencies;
                                            (ee) public health 
                                        agencies; and
                                            (ff) water associations;
                                    (II) searchable; and
                                    (III) accessible through the 
                                website of the Administrator; and
                            (ii) includes a description of--
                                    (I) qualified contract testing 
                                laboratory facilities that conduct 
                                analyses for emerging contaminants; and
                                    (II) the resources available in 
                                Federal laboratory facilities to test 
                                for emerging contaminants.
                    (D) Water contaminant information tool.--The 
                Administrator shall integrate the database established 
                under subparagraph (C) into the Water Contaminant 
                Information Tool of the Environmental Protection 
                Agency.
            (4) Funding.--The Administrator may request funding as 
        necessary to carry out this subsection, but in no case shall 
        funding to carry out this subsection exceed $15,000,000 in any 
        fiscal year.
    (e) Report.--Not less frequently than biannually, the Administrator 
shall submit to Congress a report that describes the progress made in 
carrying out this Act.
    (f) Effect.--Nothing in this section modifies any obligation of a 
State, local government, or Indian tribe with respect to treatment 
methods for, or testing or monitoring of, drinking water.
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