IATP's Senior Attorney Sharon Treat presented the following testimony on January 24, 2020. To read the complete testimony, click here.
The Maine PFAS Task Force Final Report is available here.
Testimony in Support of LD 1923, “An Act to Define as a Hazardous Substance Under Maine Law Any Substance Defined under Federal Law as a Hazardous Substance, Pollutant or Contaminant”
Submitted by Sharon Treat, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources
January 24, 2020
Senator Carson, Representative Tucker, and honorable members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. My name is Sharon Treat and I live in Hallowell. I am Senior Attorney for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), on whose behalf I am testifying today in support of LD 1923.
IATP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota with offices in Hallowell, Maine and other locations.1 As an organization that works closely with farmers and seeks to promote local, sustainable and environmentally beneficial agriculture, IATP is particularly interested in how PFAS contamination is affecting food, farms and farmers. Since the PFAS Task Force first convened in May, we have closely followed its meetings, reviewed the data and findings of the state agencies investigating PFAS contamination and submitted comments on the final PFAS Task Force Report.
The data make clear that the State of Maine is facing a potentially enormous PFAS contamination problem. LD 1923 provides one tool to start to address that problem, by allowing the State to classify PFAS compounds and other emerging contaminants as hazardous substances under the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)’s Uncontrolled Sites Program, thereby granting the State clear legal authority and freeing up funds to clean up and remediate contamination. Waiting for the federal government to act is not an option. With the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) slow to act and Congress in a policy fight between the House and Senate, 2 the 49 states with confirmed PFAS pollution have been largely left on their own.3 Fortunately, Maine has significant expertise and the experience of years of independent action on toxics. Passing LD 1923 will enable the State to act quickly to protect the public and environment.
Continue reading the full testimony.