The State of Michigan has recognized the prevalence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has classified as contaminants. These chemicals are used in thousands of applications throughout the industrial, food, and textile industries and are an ingredient in some firefighting foams, food packaging, cleaning products, and various other household items. They are incredibly stable, breaking down slowly in the environment, and are highly soluble, easily transferring through soil to groundwater.
In 2017 the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) was created as a temporary body by executive directive to investigate sources and locations of PFAS and protect drinking water and public health. Since the 2017 Executive Directive, MPART has identified PFAS in several counties, cities, and towns throughout Michigan. Its work continues today.
On February 4, 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2019-3, establishing MPART as an established, enduring body to address the threat of PFAS contamination in Michigan, protect public health, and ensure the safety of Michigan’s land, air, and water, while facilitating inter-agency coordination, increasing transparency, and requiring clear standards to ensure accountability.
The Order creates MPART as an advisory body within the Department of Environmental Quality, with the director or director’s designee from within that department from the following seven agencies:
- Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (previously the Department of Environmental Quality)
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Department of Natural Resources
- Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
- Department of Transportation
- Department of Military and Veteran Affairs
- Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
The director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), or the director’s designee from within the department, will serve as the chairperson of MPART.
MPART will be charged with providing recommendations to the director of EGLE, and the directors of the other involved agencies, and coordinate efforts between them. MPART will also research, identify, recommend, and implement PFAS response actions relative to the discovery, communication, and mitigation of PFAS, and report regularly to the governor on its activities.