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“The House took a step this week toward strengthening the state’s capacity to address water contamination by per-and-polyfluoralkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS — voting to establish an interagency task force that will develop best practices in responding to the so-called ‘forever chemicals’ that have been detected in 14 public water supplies statewide.
The legislation, filed by Rep. Kate Hogan, D-Stow, was included as statute in the last supplemental budget of the fiscal year alongside comprehensive investments in water treatment and testing in affected communities. It is co-sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Benson, D-Lunenburg, and Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro.
Convening stakeholders working on PFAS issues from across state government, the task force will support timely coordination and resource sharing to step up the commonwealth’s response efforts. It will be charged with clear and actionable goals: identifying sources of PFAS contamination and exposure pathways, closing gaps in data and protocol, examining the impact on the environment and marine life, and enhancing public education outreach…
‘The real-time nature of PFAS response heightens the stakes of our leadership and compels our action as a legislature,’ she said. ‘We need to give the ever-growing number of affected communities the tools to respond. This task force lays the foundation for committed partnership on solutions — what the commonwealth needs to lead with capacity and purpose on PFAS.’
Working hand in hand with this new policy tool is the supplemental budget’s significant allocation of resources for PFAS response. This includes investing $8.4 million in testing and mitigation at the local level and directing $20 million into the Clean Water Trust Fund for drinking water programs focused on PFAS remediation.
‘The $8.4 million investment for PFAS testing once again shows the House of Representative’s commitment to protecting our environment, and would not have been possible without Rep. Hogan,’ said Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, House chairman of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture. ‘I was proud to have worked with Rep. Hogan back in July, when the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture advanced her legislation aimed at establishing a PFAS task force, and am proud to say she has continued to tirelessly advocate for PFAS legislation since. I want to thank Rep. Hogan for serving as a voice for all the communities who have been impacted from having these toxic chemicals in their drinking water.’ …”