The Maine 2022 legislative session has ended, but we are pleased to report that many…
Let’s support the LD 2013 farmer support fund to make sure farmers impacted by PFAS get the support they need.
On March 17th, the Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee voted unanimously in support of LD 2013, which is a great first step. On March 18th, Governor Mills released a change package to her supplemental budget that would include $60 million for the farmer support fund established by LD 2013. MFT will be working with farmers, partners, and supporters to ensure that the fund is established and has sufficient funding.
We need your help! Please reach out to members of the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs (AFA) Committee (listed below) and urge them to provide sufficient support for the LD 2013 farmer support fund. When you speak with members of the AFA Committee, here are some key messages to share:
- The application of PFAS-containing sludge has led to the contamination of at least nine family farms and hundreds of residential wells, and this number is likely to increase as the state ramps up testing on over 700 sites across Maine.
- The future of farming in Maine depends on how we meet the challenges of PFAS contamination on our farms and farmland.
- We need to make sure that every farmer who is found to have contamination has access to the funds they need to monitor their health and pivot their business so that they can contine farming.
- The fund must have enough resources so that no farmer is left in limbo – we urge you to provide $100 million for the fund.
- Agriculture is a key part of Maine’s economy, and one of the sectors bringing young people to work in the state.
- But only with effective and comprehensive support will farmers be able to continue to feed Maine’s economy and people for generations to come.
Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee
Sen. Cathy Breen, Chair (D-Cumberland), Senate District 25: Cathy.Breen@legislature.maine.gov
Sen. Donna Bailey (D-York), Senate District 31: Donna.Bailey@Legislature.Maine.gov
Sen. Paul Davis (R-Piscataquis), Senate District 4: Paul.Davis@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Teresa Pierce, Chair (D-Falmouth), House District 44: Teresa.Pierce@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Amy Arata (R-New Gloucester), House District 65: Amy.Arata@Legislature.Maine.gov
Rep. Barbara Cardone (D-Bangor), House District 127: Barbara.Cardone@Legislature.Maine.gov
Rep. Kristen Cloutier (D-Lewiston), House District 60: Kristen.Cloutier@Legislature.Maine.gov
Rep. Patrick Corey (R-Windham), House District 25: Patrick.Corey@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Jack Ducharme (R-Madison), House District 111: John.Ducharme@Legislature.Maine.gov
Rep. Jessica Fay (D-Raymond), House District 66: Jessica.Fay@Legislature.Maine.gov
Rep. Patty Hymanson (D-York), House District 4: Patricia.Hymanson@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. John Martin (D-Eagle Lake), House District 151: John.Martin@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Sawin Millett (R-Waterford), House District 71: Sawin.Millett@legislature.maine.gov
Background on PFAS Contamination of Farmland in Maine
- PFAS are a group of chemicals which are extremely persistent in the environment and in the human body. PFAS have been produced and used in a variety of products and industries since the 1950s, ranging from food packaging to firefighting foam.
- Studies suggest that these chemicals are associated with increased health risks, such as increases in the risk of kidney and testicular cancer, increases in cholesterol levels, increases in the risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, and decreases in how well the body responds to vaccines.
- The state-sanctioned application of PFAS-contaminated sludge as fertilizer on farmland decades ago by farmers who were unaware of the presence and health risks of PFAS can still impact PFAS levels in the soil and water today.
Background on LD 2013 Farmer Support Fund
- Our farmers need robust support to address the health and financial impacts of PFAS contamination, and Maine needs robust support for research and remediation so that we have the farmland we need for our future.
- LD 2013 would provide that assistance by establishing a fund and associated advisory committee to invest $100 million in farmer support needs such as:
- Income replacement and mortgage payments,
- Health monitoring,
- New infrastructure, business models, and farm management practices,
- Relocation services and the buying of contaminated agricultural land, and
- Research to support the development of Maine’s agricultural sector in this new context, including research on soil remediation.