Michigan Supreme Court to hear PFAS appeal

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(The Center Square) – The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Attorney General’s appeal of an August 2023 Court of Appeals ruling regarding manufacturing company 3M’s challenge to the state’s per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances standards for drinking water.

The Michigan Supreme Court issued its Feb. 2 order accepting the application for leave to appeal, filed by Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office on behalf of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, PFAS are man-made chemicals often used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1940s, including in nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, and some cosmetics.

The Michigan Supreme Court has not yet set dates for oral argument.

The environment agency issued rules limiting the levels of PFAS in drinking water in the state in 2020.

In 2021, 3M challenged the rules but those challenges to the scientific basis for the drinking water standards were rejected by both the Court of Claims and the Court of Appeals. Both courts invalidated those rules based on the failure to conduct a “cost/benefit analysis.”

The Court of Claims stayed the effects of the invalidation of the rules. Nessel filed an appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court late last year.

“I appreciate the Supreme Court’s decision to review this decision and to hear our arguments on this important issue,” Nessel said in a statement. “My department will continue fighting to make sure that standards regulating PFAS in drinking water remain in effect to protect Michiganders’ right to clean water. We believe the record supports that EGLE’s rule making process for these standards was valid, and I am committed to ensuring that these science-based state standards stay in place to protect human health and the environment.”

The manufacturing company creates PFAS products but says it will stop by the end of 2025

“Michigan must have strong PFAS rules and regulations in place to defend public health,” Nessel said in a statement. “The manufacturers who profit from these forever chemicals now challenge the regulations that protect people from exposure; 3M again puts their profits over people. I am fighting to maintain our state’s important public health standards against these self-serving corporate challenges.”

Exposure to PFAS could harm humans. In 2020, Nessel sued 17 companies for PFAS exposure.

In 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency announced $37 million for Michigan to mitigate PFAS.

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