“Gov. Rick Snyder is asking Attorney General Bill Schuette to sue 3M over groundwater contamination linked to products created by the Minnesota-based company to fight fires and protect fabrics.
Snyder said those products, including Scotchgard, AFFF and AR-FFF firefighting foam, have contributed to high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that have been found in the environment and drinking water at and around former military sites.
‘Michigan has made extensive progress in identifying sites that have been contaminated by PFAS, raising awareness of this national public health threat and working to eradicate the products that caused the contamination,’ Snyder said in a statement. ‘Because of the scale and the scope of this problem and the associated expenses, it is necessary to pursue legal action against those who continued to produce and market these products, even once they were identified as the cause of this environmental contaminant.’…
Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office has received the letter and is reviewing it, said spokesperson Lauren Houck.
Anna Heaton, a spokesperson for Snyder, said Schuette “has to file a lawsuit on behalf of the state of Michigan, when directed to by the Governor.”
She added, ‘the only way around that is in cases where the AG would have a conflict of interest and needs to step aside, in that case they could hire an outside firm to serve as a SAG (special attorney general) but the AG’s office would have to pay all legal costs.’
3M spokesperson Donna Fleming Runyon defended her company’s record Friday…
In June, the state of New York filed a lawsuit against 3M, as well as five other companies that manufactured products containing PFAS.
And in February, the state of Minnesota received an $850 million settlement from 3M after the state sued the company eight years earlier over groundwater contamination allegedly connected to the chemicals.
Snyder said the presence of PFAS in Michigan are connected to products sold by 3M since the 1960s. Of particular concern, Snyder said, is AFFF firefighting foam that was sold to the Department of Defense, the Michigan National Guard and numerous airports and fire departments.
He said it was ‘generally understood’ that 3M was aware of the threat its products posed.
‘Despite this knowledge, 3M continued to manufacture, market, and sell its products containing the contaminant without disclosing to its customers and regulatory agencies the threat they posed to the general public,’ Snyder said.
Wolverine Worldwide, which was also sued by the state of Michigan to recoup costs associated with PFAS contamination, said it welcomes Snyder’s push to sue 3M.
‘3M created, made, marketed, and sold Scotchgard to millions of consumers and thousands of businesses for decades, and Wolverine continues to believe that 3M should acknowledge its responsibilities and be involved in solutions,’ the Rockford-based company said in a statement.”
Read the full article by Brian McVicar