Read the full article by Luke Parsnow (Spectrum News 1)
“The company 3M has agreed to change terms of a proposed $10.5 billion to $12.5 billion settlement for its role in contaminating millions of Americans’ drinking water with toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — commonly referred to as ‘PFAS’ — according to New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office.
3M’s initial proposed settlement would require eligible public water systems to waive their legal claims against 3M without knowing what settlement funds they could receive. The settlement also contained provisions that would have required water providers to assume future liability, potentially leaving taxpayers to cover the costs of damages caused by the pollution.
The new settlement will incorporate several critical changes:
- The uncapped indemnity in favor of 3M, which could have left water systems liable for damages well beyond their expected recovery from the settlement, is removed in its entirety, significantly increasing the value of the settlement to participating water systems
- The deadline for eligible water systems to review the settlement and determine whether to opt-out is extended to 90 days
- The establishment of a settlement-specific website with information that will allow water systems to derive a good-faith estimate of what they may receive under the 3M settlement agreement if they participate in it (although actual settlement awards will depend on data that is not yet available)
- Claims by states and the federal government are expressly carved out of the agreement, allowing for future action and additional settlements against 3M
‘Corporate polluters like 3M should not be able to duck responsibility for contaminating our waters with toxic ‘forever chemicals’ that have caused devastating health problems,’ James said in a statement. ‘I am proud to have helped secure a better deal for the communities across New York and the nation affected by this pollution. This new agreement will ensure 3M is held accountable and I will continue to use the full force of my office to fight for New Yorkers’ right to clean drinking water.’
PFAS chemicals resist degradation in the environment and accumulate in the body. Health effects associated with exposure to PFAS include kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, liver damage, immune system effects and other conditions.”