L.D. 1537: PFAS pollution

An Act to Amend the Laws Relating to the Prevention of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution.
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Industry representatives and environmentalists butted heads as legislators debated requirements for PFAS reporting and removal.
The Maine Monitor is recapping the 131st Legislature by highlighting legislative bills you should know about. View all of our recaps.

Legislators amended Maine’s landmark law regulating the use of “forever chemicals” by setting a 2032 deadline to remove PFAS from most products, and exempting those from the medical and transportation manufacturing industries. 

Removal deadlines were shortened to 2026 for cookware, cosmetics and other consumer products, and extended for others, including heating, refrigerants, air conditioners and artificial turf.

Industry representatives and environmentalists butted heads as legislators debated requirements for PFAS reporting and removal.

The industry representatives argued the initially proposed restrictions would hinder business, with some manufacturers threatening to leave Maine, while environmentalists said the law’s previous form already provided exemptions and public health should take priority.

Read the full bill on the legislature’s website.

For a better sense of the debate, here are some excerpts from testimony. (It was provided shortly after the bill’s introduction, before changes to loosen deadlines and provide certain exemptions.)

For:

To fully support Maine’s agricultural community and Maine farmers who have been impacted by PFAS contamination, we must significantly slow the flow of PFAS into our environment and L.D. 1537 makes practical changes to advance efforts to do so.” ~ Shelley Megquier, Maine Farmland Trust

Against:

“L.D. 1537 would effectively dismantle important protections within the law — provisions that had been carefully negotiated and agreed to by the legislature, NGOs, and business community — and unnecessarily expands the obligations imposed on manufacturers.” ~ Kelsey Johnson, Personal Care Products Council

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Emmett Gartner

Emmett Gartner covers accountability and Maine's rural communities as a Roy W. Howard Fellow through the Scripps Howard Fund. Emmett earned his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Vermont. While working as a reporter at the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, he helped produce two award-winning investigations: “Printing Hate,” which documented the historic role of newspapers inciting racial lynchings, and “Mega Billions,” which investigated state lottery operations. Most recently, Emmett reported on health and environment for The Frederick News-Post in Maryland. He previously worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Oregon and interned for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
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