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Saint-Gobain Drops Its Lawsuit Over Vermont's Safe Drinking Water Standard For PFOA

The company that contaminated about 270 private wells in Bennington has dropped its pending lawsuits against the state over Vermont's safe drinking water standard for PFOA.The state announced Tuesday that Saint-Gobain will pay about $20 million to bring municipal water to people in Bennington whose wells were contaminated with PFOA.

PFOA is an industrial chemical that has been linked to a number of adverse health effects.

Vermont set its safe drinking water standard for PFOA at 20 parts per trillion, which is below the 70 parts per trillion set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Saint-Gobain was challenging that standard in court, but Agency of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Peter Walke says the company has withdrawn its challenge as part of the settlement.

Saint-Gobain spokeswoman Dina Pokedoff said that while the company dropped its pending suit to "enable the state to set practical guidelines for decision making relative to the water line extension project," she says the company retains the right to re-file the challenge.

"We do still believe it’s essential for us, the Bennington and North Bennington communities, Vermonters and all involved to participate in the fair rulemaking process and understand the specific science and regulatory principles the state has evaluated that led to setting the limit at this level," Pokedoff said. "While Vermont has the ability to set its own PFOA limits, it is important that the state does so in a manner that is transparent and based on sound regulatory principles that guide these types of determinations."

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