LANSING - Gov. Rick Snyder asked Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to file a lawsuit against 3M. The Minnesota company makes Scotchgard, AFFF, and AR-AFFF firefighting foam—the chemicals that are believed to be responsible for PFAS and other contaminants in the drinking water supply.
In a letter to Schuette, the governor says these products are the "determining contributor" to the presence of PFAS in Michigan resident's drinking water. Snyder said that there are 33 known locations where the water supply required attention and resources in order to protect the public's health.
There is still testing taking place at a number of other locations, including more than 450 schools that operate their own drinking water wells.
Governor Snyder wants Schuette to file the lawsuit to help cover the cost of cleanup and environmental harm and the public health threat.
"I think it's a good sign, because initially what you're concerned with is that it's not being taken seriously. You worry that the state will believe some of the industry publications that the chemicals really aren't that harmful and that appears not to be the case," Varnum attorney Aaron Phelps said. "The governor has a panel of experts and clearly they have reached the conclusion that this is a public health situation."
The Varnum law firm is representing more than 400 residents of Rockford and Belmont that have been impacted by the PFAS chemical compound.
At the end of June, a Kent County judge ruled that 3M could also be pulled into more than 100 water contamination lawsuits against Wolverine Worldwide. Toxic chemicals from Wolverine Worldwide's waterproofing shoes have contaminated more than 700 wells in northern Kent County.
Wolverine claims that 3M knew about the harm PFAS could cause and didn't give them any warning.
In February, the state of Minnesota settled an $850 million lawsuit against 3M for the disposal of chemicals in Minneapolis.
3M's average annual revenue is about $30 billion, and its average annual profits are about $5 billion, according to Forbes. The company issued this statement to 13 ON YOUR SIDE:
"3M cares deeply about the safety and health of Michigan's communities. 3M believes that it acted responsibly in connection with products containing PFAS, and will vigorously defend its environmental stewardship."
Gov. Snyder established a PFAS Action Response Team in 2017 to address chemical containments that have seeped into drinking water in Michigan.
The Attorney General's office said that they've received the letter and it's under review. Snyder's full letter to Schuette can be seen here:
Wolverine Worldwide also issued a statement about the actions made by the governor.
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