EPA decision will keep important jobs and laboratory services based in Massachusetts
Washington (May 13, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today commended the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its decision to continue the operation of the Region 1 New England Regional Laboratory (NERL) in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Last year, Senator Markey was joined by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) in sending a letter to former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, urging the EPA to maintain the NERL facility and workforce in Chelmsford. Yesterday, the EPA announced that it signed an updated lease agreement with the General Services Administration for a 12-year extension of the laboratory’s lease in Chelmsford.
“The New England Regional Laboratory in Chelmsford, Massachusetts plays a central and irreplaceable role in protecting the public health and environment in Massachusetts and across New England,” said Senator Markey. “It provides air and water monitoring at no cost to New England states, and can rapidly respond to environmental and public health emergencies. The EPA made the right decision in choosing to keep the NERL’s vital workforce and laboratory services in Chelmsford.”
In their 2020 letter, the lawmakers cited NERL’s central location in Chelmsford, which enables it to respond rapidly and effectively to crises, as its mobile labs can reach almost any location in the region within five hours. The additional testing and cleanup capabilities offered by NERL and its chemical accident prevention team have been critical in supplementing the efforts of state and local responders during chemical or biological emergencies.
Senator Markey has worked closely with EPA Region 1 to protect the environment and public health. Last year, Senator Markey and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) sent a letter to the EPA, urging the Agency to rapidly deploy mobile air monitors in Chelsea, Massachusetts. In response, EPA Region 1 committed to better monitor air quality in Chelsea, Massachusetts. As a part of this commitment, the EPA worked with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to install a new air quality monitoring station in Highland Park and the nine mobile monitors throughout the city.