Vt. lawmakers divided on toxic chemical exposure bill

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont lawmakers are torn about whether to overturn Gov. Phil Scott's veto of a bill dealing with toxic chemical exposure.

The medical monitoring bill would allow people exposed to toxic chemicals from industrial polluters to be compensated for preventive treatment. The bill makes the polluter pay, not the patient.

It all comes from a case in Bennington in 2016. People discovered PFOA contamination in drinking water wells that came from chemicals at a plant nearby.

The governor vetoed last session's bill, saying it would place extra costs on many businesses, raise insurance rates and drive business out of Vermont.

Now, lawmakers are split about overriding his veto or drafting a new bill.

"People who are affected by companies, who at the same time are abiding by state regulations, but they happen to dump something at perfect adherence to state regulations and then innocent people are affected. Those innocent people have a right to have a remedy of some kind," said Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia County.

Last week, a federal judge ruled Vermonters seeking damages for chemical contamination in groundwater will be allowed to seek costs of medical monitoring.