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Whitmer orders state to establish PFAS drinking water standards

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Jacob Barss-Bailey

Michigan will not wait for the federal government to establish drinking water rules when it comes to PFAS chemicals. That’s the class of chemicals that has been linked to a variety of health issues, including kidney cancer.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday that she is ordering the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to start its own rule-making process.

Scott Dean is with the state Department of Environmental Quality.

“This is still quite a new area for a number of states. In fact, most states don’t have any type of drinking water standards, nor does EPA, when it comes to PFAS," says Dean. “This is a next, important step that the state’s been doing for quite some time in addressing PFAS contamination. It’s a very important step, and we will be moving quite quickly, much faster than the federal government in this regard.”

In a statement, Whitmer said, "we can no longer wait for the Trump administration to act." 

This would make Michigan one of the first states to establish its own PFAS drinking water standards. Once the rules are drafted, they would face approval by a legislative committee. The process would likely take several months, but the goal is to have the rules finished by October.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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