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Michigan Supreme Court to Hear AG Nessel’s Appeal on Rule Limiting PFAS Contamination to Drinking Water

LANSING – The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Attorney General’s appeal of an August 2023 Court of Appeals ruling regarding 3M Company’s (3M) challenge to the State’s per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) standards for drinking water. The Michigan Supreme Court issued its February 2nd order accepting the application for leave to appeal, filed by the Attorney General on behalf of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The Michigan Supreme Court has not yet set dates for oral argument.  

EGLE issued rules limiting the levels of PFAS in drinking water in the State in 2020. In 2021, the multinational conglomerate 3M challenged the rules. 3M’s challenges to the scientific basis for the drinking water standards were rejected by both the Court of Claims and the Court of Appeals. Instead, both courts invalidated those rules based on the failure to conduct a “cost/benefit analysis.” The Court of Claims stayed the effects of the invalidation of the rules in recognition of the importance of these protective standards. The Attorney General filed an appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court late last year. 

“I appreciate the Supreme Court’s decision to review this decision and to hear our arguments on this important issue,” said Nessel. “My department will continue fighting to make sure that standards regulating PFAS in drinking water remain in effect to protect Michiganders’ right to clean water. We believe the record supports that EGLE’s rule making process for these standards was valid, and I am committed to ensuring that these science-based state standards stay in place to protect human health and the environment.”  

3M is a known PFAS manufacturer with a track record of challenging attempts by Michigan and other states to protect their residents from PFAS by attacking rules promulgated to limit PFAS in drinking water and the environment. 3M has publicly indicated it will continue producing PFAS throughout 2024 and 2025. 

“Michigan must have strong PFAS rules and regulations in place to defend public health,” said Nessel. “The manufacturers who profit from these forever chemicals now challenge the regulations that protect people from exposure; 3M again puts their profits over people. I am fighting to maintain our state’s important public health standards against these self-serving corporate challenges.” 

Numerous adverse health effects have been associated with exposure to PFAS and the State of Michigan has been at the forefront of efforts to limit exposures to these toxins, including bringing lawsuits against manufacturers of PFAS and companies that released PFAS contamination into Michigan’s environment.