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RELEASE: House Capital Investment and Environment Committees Hold Joint Hearing on PFAS Contamination’s Effect on Water Infrastructure

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

House Capital Investment and Environment Committees Hold Joint Hearing on PFAS Contamination’s Effect on Water Infrastructure

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the House Capital Investment Committee and Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee held a joint hearing on PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) contamination and its effect on water infrastructure throughout the state. Today’s joint hearing comes after an analysis from the Minnesota Department of Health showed at least 12 cities where a portion of the drinking water exceeded the EPA’s PFAS standards.

The committee heard testimony from the Attorney General’s office on the status of settlements between 3M and the state of Minnesota in 2018, as well as recent federal settlements between the District Court of South Carolina and 3M and Dupont that apply to some public water systems in Minnesota. Eligible public water systems must apply to receive funds from the federal settlement. Testifiers also provided information on how other states, such as Michigan, are handling PFAS contamination.

“PFAS chemicals are present in Minnesota groundwater and taxpayers should not have to bear the burden of cleaning up a mess created by corporate polluters,” said Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL—South St. Paul), Chair of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee. “Companies like 3M have long known these chemicals are detrimental to our environment, our water, and our health, and I am dedicated to ensuring Minnesotans are not on the hook for future costly cleanup efforts.”

“The state has a duty to invest in our water infrastructure, but we must also investigate the factors contributing to a polluted water supply,” said Rep. Fue Lee (DFL - Minneapolis), Chair of the House Capital Investment Committee. “For too long, corporations have played it fast and loose with pollutants, leaving taxpayers to pick up the bill. As we craft legislation this year that’ll fund improvements to our infrastructure, we’ll also be looking at ways for corporations to pay their fair share for the problems they create.”

PFAS has been shown to cause serious health problems like cancer and can affect child development. PFAS are commonly used in many products, and humans can be exposed in a number of ways, including drinking contaminated municipal water or private well water or eating food grown near places where PFAS was used or manufactured.

Last year, the Minnesota Legislature passed one of the most robust PFAS laws in the country, including banning the chemicals in children’s products, firefighting foam, and ski wax, and banning all nonessential PFAS use by 2032. The legislation also directed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to adopt water quality standards for PFAS.

A recording of the meeting can be found on the Minnesota House Public Information YouTube page here.