New EPA standards strain small town budgets

Apr 11, 2024


Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its stringent regulation on drinking water contaminants, sparking concerns among rural community leaders. Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, criticized the new National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for setting the maximum contaminant levels for chemicals like PFOA and PFOS at exceptionally low levels of 4 parts per trillion, with similar standards for other compounds. 

These new requirements are seen as particularly burdensome for small, rural communities that do not possess the infrastructure or financial backing akin to larger urban centers. The regulation, while aimed at reducing health risks associated with PFAS chemicals, could lead to substantial economic hardships for these areas. 

Duvall emphasized the shared commitment to clean water across America but argued that the financial implications of the new EPA regulation could be devastating for families in small towns. He acknowledged the EPA's attempt to mitigate these challenges through various support mechanisms, yet he maintained that these measures are insufficient. 

The focus of the regulation is to combat the prevalence of PFAS, chemicals notorious for their durability in the environment and potential health hazards. Despite the noble intentions behind the regulation, the economic impact on under-resourced rural areas is expected to be profound. 

The Farm Bureau leader called for further action to adapt the regulation in a way that considers the economic constraints faced by smaller communities. He urged for a regulatory balance that ensures water safety without placing an undue financial burden on those least capable of bearing it. 

This issue highlights the tension between environmental policy objectives and the economic realities of rural America, underscoring the need for policies that are both effective and equitable.

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