• Maine considers plan to buy out farms hurt by PFAS

    Maine considers plan to buy out farms hurt by PFAS
    by The Associated Press
    February 14, 2023

    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.

    Republican Rep. Wayne Parry’s bill would require the state to value the land as if it weren’t contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS or “forever chemicals,” and sets a minimum price of $20,000 per acre, the Portland Press Herald reported.

    Read more at the Bangor Daily News.

  • Maine developing PFAS safety levels for locally grown food

    From the Portland Press Herald:

    Maine developing PFAS safety levels for locally grown food
    Penelope Overton
    February 1, 2023

    Maine is developing a broad range of food safety standards intended to protect the public food system from forever chemicals and determine when local farmers trying to recover from a PFAS crisis can safely return to the market.

    Maine already has safety limits for milk and beef, but its hunt for tainted wells and fields at more than 1,000 agricultural sites across the state where sludge was spread as fertilizer has state toxicologists scrambling to set food safety limits for other local crops and livestock, too.

    Once these safety levels have been set, the state must decide when and how to use them, but one thing is certain – consumers shouldn’t expect all the food they buy in their local supermarket or even their farmer’s market to be tested for PFAS any time soon.

    “Maine just doesn’t have the staffing, funding or testing capacity to screen everything grown or raised in Maine for PFAS, much less what we import into Maine,” Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Nancy McBrady said on Wednesday after briefing a legislative committee about forever chemicals.

    Read more at the Portland Press Herald

  • Letter to the Editor: Explain the reasoning for appalling votes

    Yesterday, the Maine State Legislature voted to redistribute some of the budget excess back to the people of Maine.  These $450 checks will help those most in need with keeping their houses warm this winter, buying gas to get to work, and feeding their family.  An infusion of cash directly into the Maine economy as we slide into recession.  All of these are good things.

    The two newest representatives from Waldo County seem to disagree with helping the people of their districts be a bit more comfortable this winter.  They both voted against this small but very helpful infusion of cash into the pocketbooks of the people of this area.

    Perhaps they would like to explain their reasoning for these appalling votes.

    – Heather Betsy Garrold

    A version of this appeared in the Penobscot Bay Pilot.

  • Maine farmers honored for speaking out against PFAS contamination

    Maine farmers honored for speaking out against PFAS contamination
    By Kaitlyn Budion
    Morning Sentinel
    December 28th, 2022

    Maine farmers were honored recently by the Belfast-based Maine Farmland Trust for advocating for farmers impacted by the widespread PFAS contamination.

    “Their stories and amplified voices were catalysts in bringing us together to ban sludge spreading and enact the safety net for other farmers impacted by PFAS,” Amy Fisher, the trust’s president and CEO, said in a news release.

    The organization gave its Paul Birdsall Award to Mainers from six farms: Adam Nordell and Johanna Davis of Songbird Farm in Unity, Nell Finnigan and Justin Morace of Ironwood Farm in Albion, Brendan and Katia Holmes of Misty Brook Farm in Albion, Scott and Ashlee McCormick of McCormick Family Farm in Jackson, Adrienne Lee and Ken Lamson of New Beat Farm in Knox, and Fred and Laura Stone of Stoneridge Farm in Arundel.

    Each of the farms has been affected by the contamination, and in the last year the group has publicly shared their experiences and called for financial support for those impacted. They testified before state and federal legislative committees, spoke to the press and participated in public service announcements.

    Half of these farms are in District #38 and this slowly unrolling tragedy was one of the main reasons I ran for the legislature.  I will be holding the current representative from this district to account regarding how he serves these constituents as they move forward dealing with this mass contamination.

  • David Bright: Green Party candidate Heather Garrold is a great fit for Waldo County

    Heather “Betsy” Garrold has lived her entire life under this same system of values. Long active in local food and health issues, she offers the perfect combination of life experiences to understand, respect, and represent the people of Waldo County in the Maine legislature. Simply put: she offers real listening and real representation.

    Garrold is the only candidate in Maine this year running under the banner of the Maine Green Independent Party. She is as unique a candidate for the legislature as Waldo is a unique county in Maine.

    David Bright

    Read the entire letter to the editor at the Pen Bay Pilot.