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Maine considers plan to buy out farms hurt by PFAS chemicals

February 14, 2023 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine lawmaker has proposed a bill to require the state to offer to buy out farmers whose land was contaminated by long-lasting chemicals caused by the spreading of sludge.

The chemicals are PFAS chemicals, which are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because of how long they persist in the environment. Republican Rep. Wayne Parry’s bill would require the state to value the land as if it weren’t contaminated and sets a minimum price of $20,000 per acre, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began an effort in 2021 to try to limit pollution from the chemicals, which are linked to health problems including cancer and low birth weight. PFAS-tainted sewage sludge has long been used as fertilizer.

Parry’s bill has generated pushback from some lawmakers and environmental advocates who believe the minimum price per acre is too high. Federal statistics say Maine farmland is valued at closer to $3,000 per acre.