Michigan environmental and community groups urge ERRC to adopt PFAS drinking water standards

On Thursday, February 27 the Environmental Rules Review Committee (ERRC) will meet at 1 PM to vote on the draft rules that set limits for PFAS in drinking water. Under Michigan law the ERRC can vote to approve the draft rules, approve the draft rules with modification, or reject the draft rules. The ERRC vote comes after a month-long public comment period during which thousands of Michigan residents weighed in to support the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s effort to adopt PFAS drinking water standards. Environmental and community groups issued the following statements urging the ERRC to approve the draft rules as is.

“Over a million Michiganders have drinking water contaminated by dangerous levels of PFAS. The proposed drinking water standards will require immediate action to help those who have not been able to drink their water,” said Christy McGillivray, the legislative and political director for Sierra Club

“The proposed PFAS drinking water standards are a step in the right direction, and a step we must take to protect the drinking water of Michigan residents from these dangerous pollutants,” said Sean McBrearty, Michigan legislative and policy director for Clean Water Action. “We strongly urge all ERRC members to vote to approve these rules without delay.”

“Given that it will take years for the federal government to set drinking water standards on just two PFAS chemicals -- if they act at all -- it’s imperative for state government to act now to protect the health of Michiganders from this imminent threat,” said Dave Dempsey, senior policy advisor for FLOW (For Love of Water).

“The proposed rules and process for establishing Maximum Contaminant Levels for 7 PFAS chemicals should be carried forward without further delay. While they are imperfect, they are a much needed improvement from the absence of meaningful protection Michigan residents currently have,” said Rebecca Esselman, executive director of Huron River Watershed Council.

“The draft PFAS drinking water standards are a significant step in the right direction in the effort to protect Michiganders from toxic chemicals in their drinking water. The robust public comment period demonstrated clearly that Michiganders across the state strongly support the PFAS rules,” said Charlotte Jameson, program director for legislative affairs, energy, and drinking water for the Michigan Environmental Council. “The science supporting setting limits for PFAS in drinking water is clear and robust and the Environmental Rules Review Committee should move swiftly to approve the rules as they stand now.”

“While more clearly needs to be done, the Environmental Rules Review Committee needs to approve these rules and take the next step to protect the many Michigan families that are already exposed to PFAS in their drinking water,” said Nathan Murphy, state director of Environment Michigan

“In the absence of adequate federal safeguards, Michigan must act to protect drinking water, reduce risks to the public, and remediate contaminated drinking water sources,” said Jennifer McKay, policy director for Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council. “This is a vital first step to protect the public health of Michigan’s citizens and the Environmental Rules Review Committee should vote to approve these rules expeditiously.”

"Throughout the month of January, thousands of Michiganders across the state submitted public comments calling for strong PFAS standards,” said Nick Occhipinti, government affairs director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “We urge the Committee to approve the standards and to move them forward in the rulemaking process, taking us a real step forward in protecting the drinking water of Michigan communities.”

“PFAS drinking water contamination is a threat to public health in Michigan. We urge the Environmental Rules Review Committee to move forward with the rule making process and approve the standards. The proposed rules are a first step in the effort to protect Michigan residents from toxic chemicals,” said Mara Herman, health policy specialist for the Ecology Center.

Groups urging the ERRC to support the rules include: Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, FLOW, Huron River Watershed Council, Michigan Environmental Council, Environment Michigan, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and Ecology Center.