January 10th, 2019

As one of her first actions in office, Attorney General Nessel announced Jan. 9 that she would conduct a legal review of two bills passed during the 2018 lame duck session. The bills in question, HB 4205 (now Public Act 602 of 2018) and SB 1244 (now Public Act 581 of 2018) would hamper Michigan’s ability to utilize the latest and best science in establishing new environmental standards.  These “no stricter than federal” public acts limit the state from promulgating environmental rules that would be more stringent than established standards from the federal EPA.  

These bills would not cap any contaminant limits to often loose federal regulations, but would curb Michigan’s ability to utilize non-federal scientific knowledge in the setting of new standards. This move clearly benefits industrial polluters and businesses at the expense of environmental protection and cleanup. Attorney General Nessel has not released any details on the nature of her reviews, but her office did clarify that this is a step forward on assessing the utility of suing 3M, the industrial polluters responsible for much of the PFAS contamination in our waterways. While the results of the legal review have not yet come to fruition, this move represents a concrete step towards holding industrial polluters accountable.