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Leahy questions EPA director on impact of Burlington PCB contamination

Published: Jun. 10, 2021 at 8:51 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 10:18 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Sen. Patrick Leahy wants to know how the Environmental Protection Agency can ensure issues like the PCB contamination at Burlington High School don’t happen again elsewhere.

During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Thursday, the Vermont senator questioned EPA Administrator Michael Regan on the risk of PCBs. Leahy mentioned how Burlington High School was forced to close in September after PCB contamination was discovered and that the school district recently voted to demolish the building. He asked Regan what steps the EPA is taking to ensure this problem will be dealt with across the country.

“We’re looking at the risk evaluation of these pervasive chemicals and the partnership opportunities with how the states can take the lead with the federal backing to address some of these issues that are more localized,” Regan said.

This comes as President Biden’s budget proposes a funding increase of more than 21% for the EPA, totaling more than $11 billion.

For the first time since 2016, the budget also includes a $20 million request for Lake Champlain cleanup projects. Leahy noted that the funding represents a significant commitment by the Biden administration to support Vermont’s goal of a “drinkable, swimmable, fishable” Lake.

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