Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith

The lawyers at Houston Harbaugh have built a strong reputation over the past several decades representing insurance companies facing the full spectrum of complex legal challenges. No matter how big or critical the challenge, clients turn to the attorneys in Houston Harbaugh’s Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith practice group for our legal and business insights.

USEPA Announces Drinking Water MCLs for Certain PFAS.

On Wednesday, April 10, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced its first-ever legally enforceable drinking water standard to protect communities from exposure to harmful per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as ‘forever chemicals.’  

PFAS compounds can be found in hundreds of consumer and commercial products, including non-stick pans, cosmetics, firefighting foams and stain resistant clothing. These “forever chemicals” do not easily break down in the human body or environment.  USEPA reports that exposure to PFAS has been linked to deadly cancers and immune and developmental damage to infants and children. 

The final rule establishes legally enforceable levels for several PFAS known to occur individually and as mixtures in drinking water.  For PFOA and PFOS, EPA is setting a non-enforceable health-based goal of zero, known as Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG).  For PFNA, PFHxS, and HFPO-DA (GenX Chemicals), EPA is setting MCLGs of 10 parts per trillion.  EPA is also regulating, through a hazard index (HI), mixtures of four PFAS—PFHxS, PFNA, HFPO-DA, and PFBS.

The final rule will affect up to 10% of the 66,000 public drinking water systems in the United States and is projected to reduce exposure to the group of 15,000 chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for approximately 100 million people. USEPA believes the rule will avoid tens of thousands of deaths and serious illnesses that have been linked to PFAS.

EPA has offered $1 billion to states for public water system testing and treatment for these chemicals at public water systems and for owners of private wells. An additional $12 billion is available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for general drinking water improvements, including addressing emerging contaminants like PFAS.

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Alan S Miller Attorney Houston Harbaugh

Alan S. Miller - Practice Chair

Alan has more than thirty-eight years of experience in complex litigation and counseling, concentrating in the areas of environmental law, insurance coverage and bad faith, and commercial litigation. He chairs the firm’s Environmental and Energy Law practice and the Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation Practice.

Alan’s environmental law practice has involved counseling, litigation and alternative dispute resolution of matters involving municipal, residual, and hazardous waste permitting and compliance, contribution and cost recovery actions under CERCLA and related state statutes, claims for natural resource damages, contamination from leaking underground storage tanks, air and water pollution regulatory permitting and enforcement actions, oil and gas drilling compliance and transactions, and real estate transactions involving contaminated and recycled industrial sites.