Dear residents of Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury and beyond:
Tomorrow is my last day as DEC Commissioner. As I prepare to leave office, I wanted to take a moment to thank all the residents, officials, volunteers, and academic partners for your exceptional cooperation and patience over the last eleven months. The DEC team and Bennington County residents have gone through a great deal together in an effort to address the unforeseen impacts of PFOA, found in hundreds of drinking water wells.
When I was alerted to the first batch of PFOA test results around the former Chemfab facility last year, February 25, 2016, I had no way of comprehending what was in store. In response to PFOA concerns, your community banded together, distributed bottled water, organized meetings and supported one another. It was and is inspiring. Thank you for working so closely with me and my team over the last eleven months. It has been a pleasure getting to know so many of you. I wish it had been under different circumstances.
Please know the incoming team of Scott-appointees, under the leadership of the new Agency of Natural Resources Secretary, Julie Moore, have committed to being equally dedicated to the PFOA issues at hand. Though the new DEC Commissioner has yet to be named, the DEC team of Chuck Schwer, Richard Spiese, John Smeltzer, our legal team, drinking water team, and Vermont Department of Health officials will all still be working for you and with you. The Attorney General's Office will also remain heavily involved with our negotiations with Saint-Gobain.
I will do everything that I can to ensure a smooth transition and to make sure that PFOA in Bennington County remains a top priority.
Alyssa B. Schuren, Commissioner
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation