PCB Testing (H.873) - March 26, 2024

H.873 reached the House floor on Tuesday, with Representative Conlon of Cornwall speaking on behalf of the Committee on Education. The bill addresses funding challenges for the state’s program for the remediation of the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in schools. This has been a major cost-driver for many districts.

He explained that the “action levels” for the state, the PCB levels that require action, are lower than the federal standards, meaning that the state requirements trigger first. This has turned into a potential “massive unfunded mandate” on school districts. For this reason, the bill transfers the responsibility for testing and remediation to state agencies. If administrators exhaust current funding, they are given the authority to pause mandatory testing and seek an alternate funding source to cover 100% of the cost associated with remediation of PCB’s. The hope is that manufacturers of PCBs will ultimately end up paying for the cleanup via a settlement from the state’s lawsuit.

Representative Dolan of Waitsfield moved to amend the bill so that the Secretary of Education should consider “all other sources of funding” before recommending the Education Fund as the source for PCB testing and remediation. This amendment was agreed to, and a third reading was ordered.

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