Following Push from Pingree, $5 Million to Assist Farmers Impacted by PFAS Included in FY23 Agriculture Appropriations Bill
The Committee-passed funding bill includes funding Pingree fought for to help Maine farmers address PFAS contamination
Washington, June 23, 2022
Funding to mitigate impacts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination is included in the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee funding bill for Fiscal Year 2023, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) announced on Thursday. Pingree, a longtime organic farmer and a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, fought to include the $5 million in flexible-use funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the Appropriations bill, to assist farmers impacted by “forever chemical” exposure in Maine and across the country.
“Maine has been at the forefront of the PFAS crisis, but contamination is a nationwide problem, and we’re only at the beginning stages of understanding its scope—particularly in agriculture,” said Pingree. “I’m thrilled the subcommittee-passed bill includes $5 million in funding to help our farmers reduce the impact of PFAS contamination on their bottom-line. I’ve heard from farmers from across Maine who shared their stories of the ongoing challenges they’re facing, including the terrifying possibility of losing the ability to farm on all or part of their land, due to the presence of dangerous forever chemicals. This funding is an important step in responding to this crisis and I know farmers in Maine and across the U.S. who are grappling with the detrimental cost of PFAS clean-up will benefit from this critical support. There is certainly more work to be done, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to build on this funding as we approach the 2023 Farm Bill.”
Through Pingree’s leadership as Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, the FY2023 funding bill also boosts the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget to address PFAS. The $126 million in funding for the EPA’s scientific and regulatory work on PFAS represents a 70-percent increase from 2022’s allocated funding to tackle PFAS.
Pingree has long championed PFAS clean-up. She proudly supported the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which included $10 billion to address PFAS contamination. Earlier this month, she introduced the Healthy Drinking Water Affordability Act, or the Healthy H2O Act, which would provide grants for water testing and treatment technology to ensure ongoing protections from known and emerging water contaminants, like PFAS, lead, and nitrates.
In March 2022, Pingree, who serves on the House Agriculture Committee, and members of Maine’s Congressional Delegation urged U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to swiftly and fully utilize all USDA resources and authorities that can assist in responding to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination, which is increasingly impacting Maine famers and rural communities.
The following month in a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture hearing, Pingree underscored the widespread PFAS contamination in Maine and directly urged Secretary Vilsack to meet with Maine farmers and families affected.
Click here to learn more about Pingree’s efforts to clean up forever chemicals.