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Federal Court Remands AG’s PFAS Lawsuit Against Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority Back to State Court

LANSING – Monday, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan granted the State’s motion to remand its lawsuit against the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority (GFIAA) for PFAS contamination in nearby drinking water sources back to state court in the 17th Circuit Court in Kent County.   

Attorney General Nessel sued the GFIAA following repeated warnings and demands for action from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) related to the Airport’s PFAS contamination, citing PFAS releases into the groundwater. The State seeks injunctive and declaratory relief, past and future remediation and monitoring costs, and damages for the loss and destruction of natural resources. 

“This case should have rightfully remained in State court as we’ve contended violations of State environmental and public health laws,” said Nessel. “I am grateful for the efforts of my department’s litigators to return this case to the proper State venue, where we will continue to pursue our claims against the Authority until a satisfactory result is reached that protects the public and the environment. The Airport Authority has consistently refuted their responsibility to clean up their own mess, and that is why we are in court—to compel them to act responsibly and repair the harm they’ve inflicted on the State’s natural resources as well as their neighbors’ drinking water supply.” 

The Attorney General contends in her lawsuit the Airport Authority is liable for the Airport’s previous and known releases of PFAS-containing firefighting material known as aqueous film-forming foams, or AFFFs, pursuant to Part 201 (Environmental Remediation) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA), as well as for violations of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit. The PFAS releases have impacted nearby properties and the ‘forever chemicals’ have been discovered in residential drinking water wells in neighboring Cascade Charter Township, as well as in streams and other groundwater downgradient of the Airport. The full breadth of the PFAS emanating from the Airport remains unknown. 

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority refuses to take appropriate and necessary action and continues to deny responsibility.


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