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Snyder calls for PFAS readiness and response plan

Water faucet
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Lack of funds threaten to shut down a monitoring system for southeast Michigan's drinking water.

Governor Rick Snyder wants to improve the state’s response time to PFAS chemicals. They’ve been found in groundwater, surface water, and drinking water across the state. Snyder issued a directive on Tuesday calling on state departments and agencies to create a readiness and response plan.

“We want to be ready in case something else happens, how do we respond as quickly and effectively as possible and that’s what this is about,” said Snyder spokesperson Ari Adler.

The idea is to coordinate between state and local agencies and create a plan ahead of time so they can all respond to PFAS contamination as quickly as possible if it’s discovered.

Angela Minicuci is with the Department of Health and Human Services. She said state agencies have already worked on multiple PFAS sites.

“We really want to make sure that any time there is an issue with a community we are quickly mobilizing resources and that we’re taking the kind of lessons learned from those experiences and applying them to other communities,” she said.

Minicuci said so far there are 35 known PFAS contamination sites in Michigan. In one instance an emergency declaration was made. Adler said they want to avoid emergency declarations every time the chemicals are found. 

“While that is helpful in some ways, it also can hinder things because it adds to some of the bureaucracy involved and the rules that are involved,” he said.

The plan also calls for the state health department to set aside money in its 2019 budget for a fund that local governments can draw from to help with contamination.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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