GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Thursday she will pursue litigation against Minnesota-based 3M, the maker of PFAS that has contaminated wells and waterways across the state.
“We are going to be pursuing action against 3M,” Nessel said. “We intend to be as aggressive as possible. So yes, you can absolutely expect to see something in regards to litigation against 3M and some other chemical manufactures and you can expect to see it soon.”
Former Gov. Rick Snyder had asked then Attorney General Bill Schuette to go after 3M last year. But that never happened.
Nessel said her office was taking the unusual step of asking for proposals from attorneys and law firms nationwide with expertise in PFAS cases to work with her office.
“What we’re doing right now is we’re sort of coordinating these requests for proposals to work with firms that have a lot of expertise that have filed cases similar cases in other states,” she said.
3M produced PFAS for decades for products like Scotchgard and firefighting foam.
The so-called “forever chemical,” a likely carcinogen known also to lead to other health problems, is now contaminating groundwater across Michigan and hundreds of places nationwide.
It was 3M that sold the Scotchgard that Wolverine Worldwide used to treat shoes at its Rockford tannery.
Tests have found PFAS at dangerously high levels at the tannery and in residential wells near old Wolverine dump sites, including House Street NE in Plainfield Township and around Algoma Township.
PFAS-laced foam has formed on bodies of water across Michigan, including on the Rogue River near the old Rockford tannery, and on the Thornapple River, not far from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The airport used federally required PFAS-laced firefighting foam for years.
The state has already filed a federal lawsuit against Wolverine, which turned around and sued 3M, claiming it hid test data for decades.
Last year, a lawsuit against 3M filed by the state of Minnesota led to a $850 million settlement after the state discovered the company had purposely buried details on the risks of PFAS.
In 2017, Target 8 revealed that 3M had sent Wolverine a letter about the potential risks of PFAS in 1999, years before many of the homes with wells were built in what are now PFAS zones.