Conservation leaders, impacted residents, PFAS experts urge lawmakers to pass PFAS legislation during Lame Duck
House Natural Resources Committee to hold legislative hearing on PFAS water contamination crisis Wednesday
LANSING – The Michigan League of Conservation Voters (Michigan LCV) today joined the National Wildlife Federation, PFAS experts and residents impacted by PFAS contamination to call on state lawmakers to take action on legislation that would begin to address the growing PFAS water contamination crisis impacting communities across the state. The House Natural Resources Committee is slated to hold its first hearing on the PFAS crisis Wednesday, but does not plan to take up any of the legislation that would protect public health and establish a statewide drinking water standard.
“From Flint to Oscoda, Ann Arbor to Grand Rapids, a dangerous ‘forever chemical’ known as PFAS has contaminated drinking water in a growing number of communities and it is impacting more than 1.9 million Michiganders,” said Tony Spaniola, PFAS expert and homeowner in Oscoda. “PFAS contamination threatens our very way of life in Michigan and necessitates bold, urgent action by our elected leaders. Legislation to address PFAS contamination has already been introduced, and we are calling on lawmakers to take action on these bills before the close of the legislative session.”
Michigan LCV has been advocating for lawmakers to pass the “PFAS Action Now” agenda, made up of five bills introduced this session. A key priority for Michigan LCV is House Bill 5375, introduced by Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), which would establish a drinking water standard for PFAS of 5 parts per trillion. The legislation would give Michigan the toughest drinking water standard in the country, but the bill has yet to receive a hearing.
“PFAS contamination has made my community’s water unsafe to drink, threatening the health of our families and children,” said Sandy Wynn-Stelt, a resident of Belmont, where Wolverine World Wide’s tannery dumped chemicals containing PFAS for years. “I applaud Rep. Winnie Brinks and other lawmakers for introducing legislation that would put in place stronger protections against PFAS, and I urge their colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support these initiatives to bring justice to the over 30 polluted communities across Michigan grappling with PFAS contamination.”
Along with the dangers to human health, PFAS contamination threatens major industries in Michigan, such as tourism, outdoor recreation and hunting and angling. In October, The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health and Human Services issued a “do not eat” advisory for deer harvested in a five mile radius of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda, near the site of the Wurtsmith Air Force Base, one of the most severely contaminated sites in Michigan.
“From the water can’t drink to the fish we can’t keep and the game we can’t eat, PFAS threatens our water, our wildlife, and our way of life in Michigan,” said Drew YoungeDyke, senior communications coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center. “Michigan communities need swift action to establish a health-based drinking water standard and robust investment in research, monitoring and remediation.”
A list of the bills in the PFAS Action NOW agenda can be found here.