Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed Tuesday that if elected president in 2020, he would create national clean drinking water standards forcing corporations to stop contaminating the nation's water supply with dangerous chemicals.
"Corporate greed is threatening one of the most basic necessities of life: clean water," Sanders said in a statement to the Associated Press. "Not only will we support state efforts to enforce stronger clean water laws, we are going to create federal clean water standards that force these companies to clean up their mess."
Sanders, one of the leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, told AP that his national standards would target perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as well as other hazardous chemicals.
The goal of the standards, Sanders said, would be to guarantee clean drinking water "as a human right."
The Vermont senator's pledge comes as states across the nation, from New Jersey to Michigan to New Hampshire, are battling drinking water crises due to outdated pipes, corporate pollution, and other factors.
AP noted that New Hampshire "recently set some of the nation's toughest standards for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances... but a judge temporarily blocked enforcement in November after chemical company 3M sued."
"More than 700 homes in New Hampshire whose drinking water was contaminated by PFAS have been connected to new water, and the state estimates that more than 100,000 other people eventually could be affected," AP reported. "The contamination is the result of the chemicals leaking into groundwater from industrial facilities, as well as a former Air Force base."
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency is moving to gut federal regulations designed to prevent corporations from freely polluting the nation's water supply.
"Unfortunately, we have a president who has really made himself the polluter-in-chief and is making our air and water dirtier rather than cleaner," Bill Magavern, policy director of the California Clean Air Coalition, told The Progressive.