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Wisconsin governor, attorney general question proposed PFAS settlement

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(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s governor says the proposed PFAS settlement from 3M may do more harm than good.

Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul questioned just how much money Wisconsin would see from 3M’s proposed $10 billion-plus settlement.

“I promised the people of Wisconsin we would work to ensure those responsible are held accountable and would fight to make sure taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill to clean up the messes that others made – this settlement falls short of that commitment,” Evers said in a Thursday statement.

3M is one of the largest PFAS makers in the United States. The company recently proposed a settlement between $10.5 billion and $12.5 billion to settle PFAS contamination claims.

PFAS, the acronym for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are widely used, long-lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time. They are used in everything from Teflon coating to firefighting foam. Studies vary on their harmful effects; more is known about their impact on animals than on humans.

But Evers and Kaul say 3M’s proposed settlement could have cities and/or local water systems owing 3M for PFAS clean-up work after the settlement money runs out.

“We must ensure that our drinking water is safe from toxic forever chemicals and that taxpayers aren’t left to foot the bill for remediating PFAS contamination,” Kaul said. “We will continue working to hold the companies that profited from the production and sale of PFAS accountable.”

In a legal argument against the settlement, Wisconsin and other states suing over PFAS contamination, said the settlement offer may also require local water systems to make a blind decision about whether to settle or continue in court.

“The proposed settlement may require public water systems to decide whether to broadly release their claims against 3M, and assume a broad indemnity of and credit against 3M’s responsibilities, without any idea what consideration they may receive in return,” the legal argument states.

Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia are joining Wisconsin in opposing the settlement offer.

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