DACF Announces Proposed Rules to Implement the PFAS Fund

November 30, 2023

For more information contact: Jim Britt at: Jim.Britt@maine.gov

Augusta, ME - The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) announced today that it has initiated rulemaking to implement certain elements of the Fund to Address PFAS Contamination ("PFAS Fund"). The $60 million PFAS Fund was created by Governor Mills with bipartisan legislative support to provide financial and technical assistance to farmers impacted by PFAS contamination, purchase contaminated agricultural land from willing sellers, fund applied research, and support health-related initiatives.

The nine rules proposed today are intended to establish eligibility criteria, administrative procedures, evaluation criteria, and other procedures for programs to provide administrative cost grants, income replacement payments, no-cost technical assistance, infrastructure grants, and assistance acquiring new loans to PFAS-impacted commercial farms. The rules establish similar processes for a competitive research grant program and programs to enhance access to PFAS blood serum testing and mental health support for eligible persons. The draft rules are available on the PFAS Fund webpage.

A public hearing is scheduled for December 18, 2023, from 1:00 4:00 p.m. in Room 101 of the Deering Building, 90 Blossom Lane, Augusta, via Zoom. Participants attending via Zoom are required to preregister. The deadline for comments is December 28, 2023. Comments may be submitted to Beth Valentine, PFAS Fund Director, at beth.valentine@maine.gov.

Governor Mills' establishment of the PFAS Task Force in 2019 marked the State of Maine's proactive start to addressing PFAS contamination. With bipartisan support, the State has since implemented a first-of-its-kind, cross-agency response effort to identify the extent of PFAS contamination in Maine and provide financial and other support to impacted communities. DACF works directly with impacted farmers by offering guidance and resources to navigate the uncertainties associated with PFAS contamination. The PFAS Fund is the latest initiative to provide comprehensive assistance to commercial farmers and individuals affected by PFAS. The PFAS Fund Advisory Committee unanimously approved the Plan for Administration of the Fund to Address PFAS Contamination in July 2023. For more information about PFAS, visit DACF's response webpage.