PCB Testing (H.873) - April 2, 2024

The Senate Education Committee got their first look at H.873 on Tuesday, which deals with school PCB testing. The House, faced with skyrocketing costs of the program and lack of funding and to determine whether to pause, discontinue, or shift to a universal school construction scheme. The bill they came up with does allow for continued testing, but limits funding and deadlines.

Chairman Campion asked right out of the gate if schools “have to stop testing?” The answer was no unless the funds “fall to below statutory thresholds.” This threshold is $4M in the cleanup fund.

Senator Weeks asked what was left in the present fund. Legislative Counsel responded that it was originally $28.5M in appropriations. $16M of that went to Burlington and some others have been committed, so there is perhaps $6-7M left.

Senator Gulick noted that schools experiences are that removal is “not exact or simple task.” She asks whether the federal government would pay when thresholds exceed federal standards? The answer was no.

Representative Conlon joined the Committee and offered that this provides an “alternative” to a “straight up pause.” There is concern that the funding was destined to be used up really fast. He feels the $4M threshold may be too low, but they should look very hard at the number. He added just for the annual testing of the schools out there already will be about $200K each quarter.

NOTE: Really what this bill is doing is allowing the headline to read “Administration Pauses PCB Testing” instead of it falling on the Legislature.

For instance, Twin Valley has now “rung the bell of the EPA which every one of these will eventually, they are now under a 2-year order to full abate.” People are very concerned that this will turn into an unfunded mandate on school districts (in many ways it already is.

Campion questioned “how did you arrive at the $4M?” Conlon admitted that “to a certain extent we pulled it out of the air.”

After discussion, the Committee seemed more inclined to issue an immediate pause to the program to provide quick relief for districts who may fall into the same trap as Twin Valley. Conlon did not oppose this.

Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Donate Volunteer Reduce Property Tax Burden


get updates