Brinks Bill Requires State and Federal Governments to Provide Safe Water When They Pollute Drinking Water Source

Bill would require US Air Force to offer safe water to residents near Oscoda
Thursday, June 7, 2018

LANSING — State Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) has introduced a bill that requires polluters to provide an alternative supply of safe drinking water to homes whose drinking water they have contaminated. The bill is introduced as families around the state become increasingly concerned with PFAS groundwater contamination at 15 locations across the state, including northern Kent County, the area near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, and the Michigan National Guard base in Grayling.

“Having safe, clean drinking water is essential in every home,” Rep. Brinks said. “Families deserve the freedom of knowing that when their kids get a drink of water from the kitchen sink, they aren’t putting poison in their bodies. PFAS exposure is particularly dangerous for vulnerable populations like pregnant women and babies, and can affect prenatal and childhood growth, learning, and the immune system.”

A similar bill that passed into law in Michigan in 2016 had intended to require the state and federal governments to provide safe drinking water after contaminating drinking water with a substance of concern. However, the U.S. Air Force has refused to comply on the grounds that the law unfairly singled out the federal government specifically and must apply to all entities equally. Rep. Brinks’ bill is written to correct that problem, allowing the U.S. Air Force to be held accountable for pollution at the Oscoda site, and requiring any entity responsible for contaminating drinking water to provide safe drinking water to the affected people.

“Here in the Great Lakes State, no family should ever go without safe drinking water,” said Rep. Brinks. “All polluters must be held accountable, including state and federal government, when they put the health and economic security of families at stake.”