Bill Provides Funds For PCB Cleanups, Repairs Of School Sites
Congressmember Joseph Crowley, concerned about the dangers resulting from PCB contamination in schools, has seen legislation passed which provides federal funds for cleanups, "critical modernization" and renovation and repair projects.
Crowley (D- Queens/The Bronx) and colleague Jose Serrano (D- The Bronx) joined forces to successfully expand the 21st Century Green High Performing Public School Facilities Act to help schools fund cleanups caused by PCB contamination in New York City and throughout the country.
PCB contamination sometimes works its way into window frames, door frames, and other parts of school buildings that are treated with sealants containing toxic chemicals.
Crowley explained that the 21st Century Green High- Performing Public School Facilities Act provides critical funding to states and school districts to help ensure that school facilities and learning environments are safe, healthy, energyefficient, environmentally friendly and technologically advanced; the Crowley-Serrano provision makes grants and low-interest loans available to local educational agencies for the removal or abatement of PCBs during the construction, modernization or repair of public schools. The act passed the House of Representatives on June 4 by a vote of 250 to 164, and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Crowley added: "We have a responsibility to ensure that our children are taught in a healthy school environment. Like asbestos and lead paint, the presence of PCBs in school classrooms is unacceptable. That is why I teamed up with Congressmember Serrano to raise awareness in Congress of this dangerous contaminant and to include the cleanup of PCBs in broader legislation that will keep our schools safe for our children. A problem this serious demands that the federal government provide some help to state and local governments, and I am pleased that thanks to our efforts this legislation will help New York communities remove PCBs from our schools."
"Clearing the way for federal funds to be spent on mitigating any PCB contamination issues in our schools is a vital first step," Serrano said. "I commend Joe Crowley for his work on this issue. I know that, like me, he is deeply committed to making sure our children can learn in school facilities free of environmental threats. We cannot tolerate a single hazardous substance in areas where children learn, play or live."
- John Toscano