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Hearing set Thursday in state lawsuit against Fowlerville company

A motion hearing is set Thursday in Livingston County for a company being sued by the State of Michigan in regards to PFAS contamination.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed the suit in 2020 alleging damages and injury to the State of Michigan caused by contamination from toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively known as PFAS, by Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc., which is located in Fowlerville. The suit targets the company’s former Thermofil factory on Whitmore Lake Road in Green Oak Township, which was the site of a large fire in 1997. At the time of the fire, that facility was used for plastic compounding that formed resin with flame-retardants and other materials before being turned into pellets.

In a press release Wednesday, Nessel said her office expects the defendant to ask for another postponement in the case, which is currently set for trial in September. The litigation has now been pending for two years and is slated to be the first PFAS site trial in the state.

Nessel on Wednesday joined a multistate coalition urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use current-year funding to fully support initiatives identified in EPA’s “PFAS Roadmap,” including several regulatory and research projects that will help states like Michigan reduce harmful PFAS exposures.

Nessel said that while Michigan and some other states have already implemented some of the PFAS Roadmap priorities – such as setting and enforcing PFAS limits for drinking water and groundwater – federal action on research and national standards is still helpful in supporting state-level efforts.

Nessel said she is among the first attorneys general to bring legal action against 3M, DuPont and other manufacturers of PFAS. Since filing, the PFAS manufacturer defendants moved the cases to the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) on PFAS that is ongoing in federal court in South Carolina.

Her office has argued that the cases focused on Michigan are better heard and resolved in Michigan. Efforts to bring the suits back to Michigan courts remain ongoing.

 

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