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Attorney General Dana Nessel Statement in Support of EPA Proposed PFAS Drinking Water Standards

LANSING – This morning, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the final version of proposed national standards for PFAS – per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – in drinking water. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued the following statement in support of this welcome development for national consistency in protecting Americans from these toxic “forever chemicals.”  

“The day I took office as Attorney General, I made the PFAS problem a top priority,” Nessel said. “I will use the full authority of my office to uphold these important protections, and my department will continue to pursue the manufacturers of these toxic chemicals to force their contributions toward the cleanup of their chemicals that ended up in our environment.”  

Michigan is a leader in the fight to protect our residents and our environment from PFAS contamination, and Michigan has had its own state-level drinking water standards in place for PFAS since 2020. As a result of Michigan’s proactive efforts to protect drinking water supplies, all of Michigan’s public water suppliers have been sampling for PFAS for years and maintaining compliance with state PFAS standards.  

The Department of Attorney General is currently defending Michigan’s PFAS drinking water standards in court against a legal challenge brought by 3M, a major PFAS manufacturer, against the rules establishing these standards.  

“My office has tirelessly defended the sound, science-based limits on PFAS developed by the State to protect our drinking water supplies,” said Attorney General Nessel. “EPA’s new standards support what we have been saying all along – the PFAS limits in drinking water are important and defensible – and 3M’s self-serving challenge to our rules is meritless.”  

In the case filed by 3M seeking to invalidate Michigan’s PFAS drinking water rules, Michigan courts rejected all of 3M’s attacks on the substance of the rules, leaving only a procedural issue to be decided. The courts also directly acknowledged the importance of protecting public health and ruled that the Michigan rules stay in effect while the procedural issue is decided.  

The Department of Attorney General will continue to defend these important rules against challenges, both in their current form and once the EPA standards are integrated into Michigan’s regulatory structure. The EPA proposed drinking water levels are similar but not identical to Michigan’s existing standards, so the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is working to integrate the new federal standards into the state’s rules and programs.  Some of the EPA standards are more restrictive than Michigan’s, and some are less restrictive. The EPA provided five years for public water supplies to undertake sampling and reach compliance with the new standards. In that time frame, Michigan will work with public water supplies to develop and implement changes needed to meet or exceed federal requirements.