Read the full article by Garret Ellison

“LANSING, MI — The Michigan Legislature will hold lame duck session hearings on a bill proposing drinking water standards for toxic PFAS chemicals, according to the House committee chair.

Rep. Gary Howell, R-Lapeer, said the House Natural Resources Committee will seek expert testimony in mid-November on House Bill 5375, which, as written, would establish a legally enforceable hard limit of 5 parts-per-trillion (ppt) on PFAS in public drinking water.

The bill was introduced in December by Rep. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids. House Democrats have pushed for movement on the legislation this year as statewide water testing has revealed a wider contamination problem than was previously thought.

The latest Michigan Department of Environmental Quality data shows that more than 1.8 million people are drinking municipal water in Michigan with some level of PFAS in it, although almost all detections are below a widely-debated federal safety threshold of 70-ppt.

Brinks’ legislation ‘will be brought forward,’ said Howell, saying that consideration of the bill and PFAS contamination in Michigan will likely require ‘multiple hearings.’ …

Brinks’ bill proposes what would be the strictest MCL, or maximum contaminant level, for PFAS in drinking water anywhere in the United States. She said it was intended to ‘start a conversation’ about proper regulatory limits on PFAS in Michigan when introduced.

There are no federal regulations for any PFAS chemicals in drinking water, although some states have or are in the process of setting their own enforcable limits…

Howell said he wants to hear testimony from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality as well as experts in academia and the wider scientific community. He said he’s open to testimony from out-of-state experts and those put forward by Democrats.

‘I want to hear scientific testimony from as many people as possible.’

‘We’re going to draw on anybody that’s got relevant scientific information, whether that be experts from Michigan State or other universities,’ Howell said. ‘Whomever I can identify who has got relevant information about PFAS, I want to hear from.’

Howell said ‘we’re probably looking at several bills’ to address drinking water standards for PFAS as well as issues related to site remediation and chemical storage.

Howell said his committee hasn’t moved on Brinks’ PFAS bill since December because it has been busy on other environmental matters related to lead, asbestos and coal ash.”