Read the full article by Garret Ellison
“GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Michigan Democrats are criticizing Attorney General Bill Schuette for a sluggish response to PFAS contamination, saying the Republican candidate for governor is forcing state regulators to voluntarily request information from 3M rather than using the power of his office to compel disclosures.
On Wednesday, Democrats pointed to a Sept. 25 letter sent to 3M by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality as evidence of that Schuette is foot-dragging on a lawsuit against the chemical manufacturer that Gov. Rick Snyder requested this summer.
In the letter, DEQ asks for information related to PFAS chemical handling, use, distribution and disposal in Michigan, as well as internal studies on exposure-related health effects and the movement of PFAS contaminants in air, water and soil.
‘DEQ asked for this information voluntarily, while Bill Schuette as attorney general could compel 3M through discovery and subpoena,’ said Phil Skaggs, a Kent County commissioner.
‘We should be working as fast as possible,’ Skaggs said. ‘People’s health is affected every day.’
‘Our state would be in a much better position to deal with this crisis if Bill Schuette was moving in an expeditious manner,’ he said.
Schuette’s campaign referred comment to the attorney general’s office. Schuette spokesperson Andrea Bitely said only that ‘we are continuing to work with our client agency, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on this issue’ when asked about the criticism.
The criticism was leveled by Michigan Democrats in conjunction with the Sierra Club, who appeared at Grand Rapids Community College alongside Belmont residents affected by PFAS contamination from waste dumping in the area by shoemaker Wolverine World Wide.
Schuette’s office did file a lawsuit against Wolverine in federal district court related to drinking water contamination in Kent County and is involved in negotiations with the company to pay for extending the Plainfield Township water system to areas with polluted wells…
Known health effects of exposure to certain types of PFAS include thyroid problems, increased cancer risk, developmental and immune system affects and pregnancy complications.
In July, Gov. Rick Snyder requested Schuette file a lawsuit against 3M as the manufacturer of PFAS-laden products like Scotchgard fabric protector, AFFF and AR-FFF firefighting foams.
Last month, Snyder’s office told MLive the Sept. 25 DEQ letter was ‘part of the continuing efforts among the Governor’s Office, state departments, and the Attorney General’s Office on the work toward filing the lawsuit.’ “