Gov. Whitmer Urges U.S. Air Force to Comply With Michigan PFAS Standards During Wurtsmith Air Force Base Cleanup

Date:  September 22, 2020  
Time: All Day Event

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2020 
Media Contact: Press@Michigan.gov 

LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Air Force John Henderson urging the United States Air Force to comply with State of Michigan standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the clean-up efforts at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base near Oscoda, Michigan. The letter comes after the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) sent a letter to the Air Force identifying the State’s PFAS clean-up standards that EGLE expects the Air Force to meet. 

“Like all Michiganders, residents living around Wurtsmith deserve to know we are prioritizing their health and safety. Since EGLE first identified PFAS concentrations in groundwater at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, the State been committed to protecting the Oscoda community and working to clean up PFAS contamination,” said Governor Whitmer. “While I am encouraged by the recent willingness of the Air Force to implement interim actions that begin to address concerns that the State and the Oscoda community have long expressed, the Air Force must comply with state standards to prove to the community that they are focused on protecting  public health. I am also committed to working with our strong partners in the Michigan Congressional delegation to ensure that the Air Force is accountable and adequately funded to accomplish these goals.” 

Since taking office in January of 2019, Governor Whitmer has prioritized cleaning up Michigan’s drinking water and protecting public health and the environment. She strengthened the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART), a multi-agency effort to identify and remediate PFAS contamination throughout Michigan, and increased state funding for drinking water projects, including PFAS research and remediation.  

In the absence of federal drinking water regulations for any PFAS, Governor Whitmer directed EGLE to set Michigan’s own science-based drinking water standards. The resulting standards represent input from a diverse group of stakeholders who helped EGLE shape regulations that are practical, science-driven and, protective of public health. The regulations, which also strengthen Michigan’s existing groundwater clean-up criteria for the two most frequently detected PFAS,  are some of the nation’s most comprehensive regulations limiting PFAS contamination. 

To view the governor’s letter and EGLE's, click the links below: