“MONTPELIER — The Vermont House has approved a bill, prompted by the discovery of PFOA in Bennington’s water, that provides for stricter regulation of toxic substances.

‘The bottom line is that Vermonters deserve to know what toxic substances they are exposing themselves and their families to,’ said Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson in a statement on Thursday. ‘This bill takes a modest but important step to better protect Vermonters, especially our children, from toxic chemicals.’

The bill approved last week, S.103, is a version of a bill introduced last year following the discovery of PFOA contamination of drinking water in wells of Bennington residents.

The House version is a pared-down version of the original 81-page toxic substances regulation bill, which was introduced by Sens. Brian Campion, D-Bennington, and Ginny Lyons, D-Williston, along with eight others, last year. One of the sections, which was cut last year — making individuals and businesses liable for releasing toxic chemicals — was revived this year as S.197, which recently passed the Senate.

The version of S.103 that won House approval this year establishes an Interagency Committee on Chemical Management, made up of legislators and representatives of state agencies. The committee, in conjunction with a panel of expert citizen advisers, will come up with ways to accurately assess “chemical inventories” in Vermont. It also will keep track of federal laws pertaining to toxic substances, as well as emerging research on chemical regulations in Vermont.

The committee also will update reporting of the list of chemicals, as required by Vermont’s existing Toxic Use Reduction and Hazardous Waste Reduction Act, and advise on what chemicals or hazardous waste should be reported to the state.

Among the requirements of S.103 is that new sources of drinking water be tested before use.”

Read the full article by Elizabeth Gribkoff