January 26, 2018

New Hampshire Congressional Delegation Calls on EPA to Ensure That Deep Bedrock Investigation at Coakley Landfill Is Completed Without Delay

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, along with Representatives Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster, yesterday sent a letter calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure that the deep bedrock investigation at Coakley Landfill is conducted as quickly as possible. The delegation also called on the EPA to ensure that the public is kept informed throughout the process.

“We applaud the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 1 for formally requesting a deep bedrock investigation at Coakley Landfill, but we would also encourage you and your staff to ensure that this work begins as quickly as possible,” the delegation wrote. “Protecting the health and well-being of our citizens and our environment is one of the most important roles of government. The EPA must continue to work quickly to assess the conditions at the Coakley Landfill Site and ensure that the remedy at the site is protective of both short and long-term health.”

Then-Governor Hassan established the New Hampshire Governor’s Task Force on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster in 2016. Senator Hassan cosponsored legislation requiring the EPA to set federal safety guidelines for perfluorinated compounds and to identify a threshold of expected risk to health for PFCs within two years. Senator Shaheen introduced bipartisan legislation, which Senator Hassan cosponsored, to proactively empower the EPA to better respond to potential water contamination crises from emerging contaminants like PFCs. Additionally, Senator Shaheen’s amendment establishing the first-ever nationwide study on the potential health implications of exposure to PFC contamination was included in the annual defense legislation that was signed into law by the President last month.

Shea-Porter led efforts in the House of Representatives to authorize and secure funding for the health impact study, successfully passing legislation in the FY2018 National Defense Authorization. Additionally, Shea-Porter led a bipartisan letter, joined by Kuster, to Congressional appropriators urging an initial $7 million to launch the health impact investigation, and in August she secured an amendment to fund the study, which the House passed with unanimous support as part of its Defense Appropriations bill. An amendment cosponsored by Congresswoman Kuster was included in the House version of the FY 2018 NDAA, which required a study of the health effects on individuals exposed to perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid from firefighting foams used at military installations.

Click here or see below for the full text of the letter:

January 25, 2018

Alexandra Dunn

Administrator, Region 1

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

5 Post Office Square, Suite 100

Boston, Massachusetts 02109

Dear Ms. Dunn:

We write today regarding the recent letter to Mr. Peter Britz from Mr. Gerardo Millán-Ramos, Remedial Project Manager for the Coakley Landfill Superfund Site, formally requesting a deep bedrock investigation at the site. We applaud the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 1 for formally requesting a deep bedrock investigation at Coakley Landfill, but we would also encourage you and your staff to ensure that this work begins as quickly as possible. 

As you are aware, in September 2017, EPA Region 1 released the addendum to the fourth Five-Year Review for the Coakley Landfill Superfund Site. In the addendum, EPA identified that “the knowledge about groundwater flow and the fate and transport of site contaminants of concern (COCs) in the deep bedrock is very limited”. The recommended action outlined in the addendum was that the Coakley Landfill Group, the potentially responsible party (PRP) for the Coakley Landfill Superfund Site, conduct a deep bedrock investigation to address the data gaps and possible transport of contaminants from the site. Since the deep bedrock investigation is projected to take approximately two years, it is essential that the EPA avoid delays in completing this critical work.

Protecting the health and well-being of our citizens and our environment is one of the most important roles of government. The EPA must continue to work quickly to assess the conditions at the Coakley Landfill Site and ensure that the remedy at the site is protective of both short and long-term health.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts at the Coakley Landfill Superfund Site. We look forward to continuing to work with you and EPA Region 1 to address the public health and environmental concerns of Granite Staters.

Sincerely,

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