During Summer 2019 the State of the Rockies funded Colorado College undergraduate Max Kronstadt (Political Science, ’20) in his work with the Fountain Valley Water Project – a research group dedicated to investigating a local case of PFAS pollution in south Colorado Springs. Working with CC Professors Eli Fahrenkrug and Tyler Cornelius, Max spent ten weeks investigating how public policies shaped the environmental justice issue, the government response, and the underlying dynamics of PFAS pollution issues that have left many of the affected residents clamoring for a more robust governmental response. In his research Kronstadt argued that the absence of ‘the precautionary principle’ in federal water policy created conditions ripe for water contamination, wherein the resulting patchwork of federal, state, and local policy responses being uneven, decentralized and, ultimately, ineffective.
Kronstadt’s research involved investigating the national, state, and local policy questions surrounding PFAS pollution, and then communicating those findings to the affected communities. In his research Kronstadt argued that the absence of ‘the precautionary principle’ in federal water policy created conditions ripe for water contamination, wherein the resulting patchwork of federal, state, and local policy responses being uneven, decentralized and, ultimately, ineffective.
In doing this work Kronstadt worked closely with members of the Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition, a community group founded in response to the water crisis. Kronstadt presented his research to a group of local residents in the form of a Prezi presentation.
Max’s summer research was one of four student projects selected for an IGNITE presentation at the ScoRe (Summer Collaborative Research) Symposium on September 17, 2019 where he presented, “From the Swamp to the Stream: The Politics of PFAS.”
CC Visiting Assistant Professor Tyler Cornelius, who co-advised the project, noted that “Max’s work goes a long way towards simplifying what is, to date, a very complicated web of federal and state legislation governing PFAS exposure in drinking water. Max was able to investigate the key contradictions that make this an important public policy issue. He was also able to simplify and clarify, and the community members who received his report were grateful for his help in sorting through an increasingly complex environmental justice issue.”
By Tyler Cornelius, CC Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies