Read the full article by John Gardella (National Law Review)
“On February 10, 2021, Minnesota announced its ‘PFAS Blueprint‘, a 191 page aggressive plan with its stated goal being to ‘protect our communities and environment from [PFAS].’ The detailed plan sets out a proposal to bolster regulations regarding PFAS through both legislation and agency rulemaking efforts. The PFAS Blueprint lays out ten priority areas of focus for PFAS, and supporting proposed legislative action to accomplish each priority. If carried out in full, or even in part, the impact of the regulations will be felt well beyond Minnesota, as other states that are more aggressively addressing PFAS issues will follow suit. The ripple effects on downstream commerce sectors, including waste management, water utilities, manufacturing and construction, will be enormous.
What is the PFAS Blueprint?
The PFAS Blueprint identifies ten regulatory priorities for the state with respect to PFAS, including risk assessment from PFAS in air emissions and waste, remediating sites contaminated with PFAS and additional steps to prevent further PFAS pollution. Unlike other PFAS plans put forth by agencies, though, the Minnesota plan lays out specific legislative actions, which they propose take place in 2021, in order to accomplish the goals. Key among those legislative actions would be:
- Designating PFAS as a ‘hazardous substance’ under the Minnesota Environmental Response and Liability Act (MERLA);
- Mandating that companies disclose information regarding PFAS use in products or manufacturing processes;
- Targeting PFAS contamination remediation on landfills, composting facilities, and wastewater treatment plants;
- Establishing required groundwater monitoring for PFAS at landfills; and
- Consideration for product labelling for PFAS composition.
While the state pledges in its PFAS Blueprint to provide financial and technical support to businesses that cease using PFAS and utilize substitutes, the impact of the proposed legislative actions will have enormous impacts on businesses of many types.
Business Impacts of the PFAS Blueprint
Similar to the proposed ‘hazardous substance’ designation under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the most notable impact of the Minnesota PFAS Blueprint will be felt by industry if the state designates PFAS as a ‘hazardous substance’ at the state level. Once a substance is classified as a ‘hazardous substance’, the state can force parties that it deems to be polluters to either cleanup the polluted site or reimburse for the full remediation of the contaminated site…”