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Protecting Michigan's Environment
Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture
The Great Lakes define Michigan’s borders, but they are so much more than that. The Great Lakes are the lifeblood of our state, boosting our economy and providing drinking water and adventure to so many. Their preservation is up to all of us, and we all have a responsibility to protect them.
The inland lakes, rivers and streams that flow into the Lakes must also be protected from pollution to ensure a safe ecological system for the entire Great Lakes Basin.
Together with environmental and government leaders across the Michigan Attorney General is working to protect our Great Lakes.
Clean Air and Water
AG Nessel has stood up in concert with other state Attorneys General to safeguard our natural environment when the federal government not only side stepped its obligations to protect it, but actively sought to loosen environmental protections to benefit industry.
From standing up for the air to breathe and the water we drink, to ensuring that consumers have access to increasingly efficient products, and to making sure that industry utilizes available pollution controls, AG Nessel and her counterparts have worked together to protect our environment when the federal government refused to.
Since taking office in 2019, one of AG Nessel’s highest priorities has been action to protect the Great Lakes from the grave environmental and economic threat posed by Enbridge Energy’s operation of its Line 5 pipeline.
The 67 year old pipeline, which extends more than 640 miles through Michigan from the Wisconsin border in the UP across the Straits of Mackinac, and ultimately to Sarnia Ontario, transports more than 22 million gallons of petroleum per day, most of which is delivered outside Michigan.
The Attorney General’s office in January 2020 filed suit against several major manufacturers of the “forever chemicals” PFAS. The lawsuit seeks damages, past costs, and remediation for PFAS contamination as a result of the chemicals’ use in manufacturing.
These “forever chemicals” do not biodegrade and therefore accumulate in the environment and in the body, and are linked to several types of adverse health impacts, from elevated cancer risks to thyroid problems and more. The case survived multiple motions to dismiss and the AG team is currently in discovery, seeking information from the Defendant manufacturers.
In August 2020. the Attorney General’s office took legal action seeking damages, past costs, and remediation for PFAS contamination from firefighting foam known as AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam). All of these cases remain pending in court.
Wolverine Worldwide Inc.
Wolverine Worldwide Inc. settlement to extend municipal water to affected well water users, required actions to address PFAS contamination
In early 2020, the Attorney General’s office also reached a settlement with Wolverine Worldwide Inc., which requires the company to pay $69.5 million to extend municipal water to more than 1,000 properties, in addition to ongoing obligations on Wolverine to investigate and monitor the extent of PFAS contamination from Wolverine’s practices, monitor and maintain filters where needed, and control source areas to cease emitting PFAS into the environment.