Following the announcement that the military had contaminated the Horsham Township public water system with dangerous PFAS chemicals, Todd was the first public official to demand the federal government fulfill its obligations to our community by 1) eliminating all detectable levels of contaminants from our drinking water; 2) providing blood tests so we can understand the nature and extent of any exposure to harmful chemicals and 3) performing a health study to understand what, if any, health risks we face as a result of this exposure.
In his efforts to hold the federal government accountable, Todd worked with elected federal officials from both parties including Governor Tom Wolf, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr., U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, Congressman Brendon Boyle, and Congressmen Mike and Brian Fitzpatrick. Additionally, Todd sponsored a House Resolution demanding the federal government address these issues which was unanimously adopted by the PA House of Representatives.
When the federal government refused to eliminate all detectable levels of the contaminants, Todd worked with Governor Wolf in 2016 to secure $10 million in the state budget to install infrastructure to clean our water. As partners in cleaning up our water, Governor Wolf praised Todd's efforts on the issue, stating "I thank Rep. Stephens for his leadership on this issue."
Todd repeatedly called on the federal government and the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to assume a greater role in addressing this issue for all of Pennsylvania by adopting a “zero-tolerance” policy for the presence of these chemicals in our drinking water. DEP is currently developing PFAS standards and the EPA recently announced they would be adopting the standard Todd has been calling for since 2016.
Military Installation Remediation Program
To find a permanent solution to the water contamination issue in our community, Todd designed a new program that provides funding for clean drinking water and infrastructure to remediate PFAS in Pennsylvania. Act 101 of 2019, the Military Installation Remediation Program (MIRP), which Governor Wolf signed into law on November 27, 2019, redirects a portion of state tax revenue generated on or around the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station to a newly created municipal authority, the MIRIA, who utilizes these funds to eliminate the water surcharge incurred by Horsham Township residents while also funding new remediation projects in Upper Dublin Township and Ambler Borough among others.
This legislation is a game changer and this new program generates at least $15 million annually to shield our community from having to foot the bill to clean up the federal government’s mess. The legislation was supported by several leading environmental groups including Clean Water Action, PennEnvironment, and PennFuture.
Since its inception, the MIRIA has allocated nearly $8 million to fund clean water in Horsham Township. Additionally, the MIRIA board, which Stephens Chairs, awarded $1.1 million to Ambler Borough to eliminate contaminants from two wells that serve local residents in the borough and in Upper Dublin Township.
Again, following years of inaction by the federal government, Todd worked with Governor Wolf to create a funding stream to provide water remediation efforts and eliminate any local surcharges water customers may be paying to ensure our drinking water is safe.
“As a life-long resident and the father of two small children who had been drinking our public water, I am proud that we are now meeting the safest PFAS drinking water standards in the country!”
Protecting Our Environment
Todd believes climate change poses a threat to our community. Whether it's ensuring we have clean, safe natural resources or fighting the effects of climate change, he has seen first-hand the damage and destruction climate change can impose on his constituents and their livelihood. Todd has crossed party lines to oppose legislation that would have unnecessarily prolonged the implementation of critical environmental regulations. Additionally, he voted to protect Pennsylvania's ability to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which sets limits on carbon pollution and funds clean-energy projects. The implementation of RGGI in states across the eastern seaboard is also linked to lower electricity bills for households and businesses.
To ensure the safety of his community, Todd understands we must protect our environment.