LANSING — State Rep. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), Democratic vice-chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter today to state Rep. Joseph Graves, chairman of that committee, demanding a hearing on the PFAS contamination in Kalamazoo County. Last Thursday, residents in the city of Parchment and some portions of Cooper Township were told by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to not drink the water or use it for cooking. On Sunday, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, acting for Gov. Rick Snyder who is out of the state, issued a disaster declaration for those communities.
“It is unconscionable that this administration has once again put families in harm’s way because of a failure to address water contamination,” said Hertel. “Our families and communities depend on the state to protect them and our environment, but Republican leaders have failed to ensure the water coming from our taps is clean and drinkable. Testing and distributing bottled water is necessary, but we need to do more to ensure that this never happens again — and that means immediately holding hearings and passing stronger laws to hold industries accountable.”
Testing of Parchment’s municipal water source showed PFAS levels of 1,587 parts per trillion, 20 times higher than the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s lifetime health advisory of 70 ppt. In 2012, MDEQ Director Dan Wyant received a report from a department specialist urging testing for PFAS around the state and efforts to stop exposure wherever high levels were found. Hertel and other Democratic legislators have called on Legislative Republicans to hold hearings to review that report and hold the administration accountable for its failure to put the safety and health of Michigan families before industry.
A copy of Hertel’s letter, calling on Rep. Graves to hold a hearing and bring MDEQ officials in for questioning and to answer for their inaction, is attached.