Alaska Senate considers pesticide liability protections

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Senate is considering a bill that would exempt utility companies from liability related to a pesticide used on most wooden power poles in the state.

KTOO Public Media in Juneau reports the bill came after state regulators alerted the Homer Electric Association that it could be held responsible for pesticide contamination.

Most power poles are treated with Pentachlorophenol. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists found "concerning levels" of the pesticide in soils around poles in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in 2015.

Republican Sen. Peter Micciche told the Senate Resources Committee that his bill is financial protection for Alaskan ratepayers who depend on the utilities.

Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski says the liability for contamination would shift from the utilities to the property owners under the bill.

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