Read full article by Kimberley Haas (New Hampshire Union Leader)
“MERRIMACK — A co-founder of Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water is outraged at a judge’s ruling that temporarily shelves strict new regulations on groundwater PFAS contamination.
‘This is real; people are getting sicker,’ said Laurene Allen, adding that while big corporations like 3M are fighting to stop regulations that might reduce their profits, Granite Staters are paying to clean up the pollution created by these companies.
Merrimack taxpayers are bearing the burden of the costs to make sure their public wells are filtered appropriately, she said.
Allen calls Merrimack ‘ground zero’ for PFAS pollution.
‘We have these corporations that are arrogant, and they think they are untouchable,’ she said. ‘If they would come to the table and be responsible and be part of the solution — if everybody did this responsibly — that would be great. Unfortunately, it’s the liability and the future profits, and all of that kind of stuff — that’s what it really comes down to,’ Allen said.
In his ruling, which becomes effective on Dec. 31, Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara wrote that the Department of Environmental Services had not conducted an adequate cost-benefit analysis when the department decided to regulate PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS and PFNA; DES lowered the acceptable levels to between 11 and 18 parts per trillion for these chemicals.
The stricter standards remain in effect until the end of the month.
On Sept. 30, Plymouth Village Water & Sewer District, Resource Management Inc., Charles G. Hansen and Tilton-based 3M sued DES to block the regulations, which were scheduled to take effect that day, arguing there was not enough public input and it was an unfunded mandate…
Mindi Messmer, of Rye, who is running for a seat on the Executive Council and is the co-founder of New Hampshire Safe Water Alliance, wrote the law creating the stricter standards.
Messmer said that despite this week’s legal setback, McNamara’s ruling contained some wins.
‘The first thing that I want to mention is the other part of the ruling that says it is not an unfunded mandate, which is really important because we believe, and now the judge ruled, that the state does have the authority to set standards like this,’ Messmer said…
DES is currently working with the state Attorney General’s office to determine next steps.
A motion to reconsider was filed on Wednesday, according to Allen Brooks, who is a senior assistant attorney general and chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau at the state Department of Justice.
Brooks said DES simply has to consider costs and benefits during its analysis of statutes. The department does not need to follow the standards set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for example…
The plaintiffs in the case argue that the EPA is developing standards for some of the same PFAS chemicals using a detailed and rigorous examination of costs and benefits, citing the federal agency’s guidelines for preparing economic analysis.
Gov. Chris Sununu said on Wednesday that he was keeping tabs on the situation and the state’s response.
‘Ensuring Granite Staters, especially our kids, have safe drinking water is one of the foremost responsibilities of government — delay and inaction cannot be tolerated,’ Sununu said in a statement.
If a motion to reconsider is not successful, the state may appeal McNamara’s ruling to the state Supreme Court.”