Snyder asks Schuette to sue 3M over chemical contaminants in Michigan
Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday asked Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to prosecute 3M over its products such as Scotchgard that leached contaminants that have been identified in current or former military installations.
The Snyder administration wants "legal proceedings" started against the Minnesota group that also produce AFFF and AF-AFFF firefighting foam in addition to Scotchgard. These products, officials, said, have been a "determining contributor to the presence" of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalky substances (PFAS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in the environment."
"Michigan has made extensive progress in identifying sites that have been contaminated by PFAS, raising awareness of this national public health threat and working to eradicate the products that caused the contamination,” Snyder said.
“Because of the scale and the scope of this problem and the associated expenses, it is necessary to pursue legal action against those who continued to produce and market these products, even once they were identified as the cause of this environmental contaminant.”
Schuette spokeswoman Andrea Bitely said "we've received the request from the governor and are reviewing."
The announcement comes days after MLive reported that a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality specialist had sounded alarms over PFAS and called for action on the chemical contaminants in a 2012 report.
“It’s unfortunate it didn’t get better attention,” Snyder said Thursday about the report. “It’s a terrible situation and a big national problem.”
Snyder said Michigan has become a national leader in efforts to identify and clean up PFAS, but the governor was not sure why the 2012 report was not widely circulated after it was given to then-Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant, who resigned in December 2015 at the height of the Flint water contamination crisis.
“Many of those people aren’t even with us anymore,” Snyder said. “Let’s see what we can do today about the problem.”