LANSING — House Democrats today called for an audit of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) response to PFAS contamination in the state. State Reps. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) and Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores) along with 42 House Democratic colleagues sent a letter to the Auditor General calling for an investigation into why a 2012 report was concealed and recommendations ignored. The request for an audit comes 294 days after House Democrats introduced a plan to address PFAS contamination and 9 requests for legislative hearings went unanswered by Legislative Republicans.
“Families deserve to know how something we were warned about six years ago could still have become such a huge problem,” said Brinks. “We have been fighting for accountability for this crisis from day one, and it is alarming that Republicans in the House have so far refused to join us in that fight. Their lack of action begs the question — who are they protecting: Michigan families or corporate polluters?”
The audit request focuses specifically on a 2012 report entitled “Michigan’s Contaminant Induced Human Health Crisis: Addressing Michigan’s Future by Facing the Challenge of the Evolving Nature of Environmental Contamination” which raised concerns regarding PFAS contamination and made fifteen recommendations for actions to be taken. The report was largely ignored, with only one of the 15 recommendations being implemented since 2012. Despite repeated requests from Democratic legislators to hold hearings in the House Oversight and Natural Resources Committees on the issue, no hearings have been scheduled, making an audit request the next logical step in the fight to provide answers for Michigan families.
“A report sat virtually untouched for six years in blatant disregard for the health and safety of Michigan families and those families deserve better,” said Hertel. “Since Republican legislators will not grant us a legislative hearing, an audit is our only option and it will help shed light on why this report was concealed. Michiganders deserve to know who should be held responsible for the PFAS crisis and how we can ensure important information that could protect our health and safety is not ignored in the future.”