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Smart investments will help crack down on environmental hazards

• Feb 14, 2019 at 1:00 PM

Michigan is leading the nationwide fight against an environmental threat affecting millions of Americans — some of them right here in Ottawa County.

By now, many of you have heard about our state’s efforts to manage and control the spread of PFAS in our groundwater supply. PFAS refers to a group of chemicals called perfluoroakyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances that were widely used throughout the United States for decades. Only recently did it come to light that these chemicals had worked their way into the environment from a variety of sources. Thanks to the efforts of our interagency Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART), we were able to identify and manage contamination in Robinson Township.

Since this discovery, MPART has worked with our community to protect the public from potential health hazards and investigate the sources of contamination. It’s important to know that the House’s recent rejection of Executive Order 2019-02 will not stop assistance to communities affected by PFAS or other environmental issues. It also does not affect the governor’s reauthorization of MPART or any other critical department functions. I remain committed to and join the governor in ensuring the health and safety of Michigan families’ drinking water and our natural resources.

While we work together alongside our partners in the science community to get to the bottom of PFAS contamination, I want you to know that as your state representative I am committed to safe and reliable infrastructure for our communities — from faucet to freeway.

Highway construction materials and biosolids were among the sources originally considered by MPART as potential sources of contamination. It is important to me that we plan our infrastructure investments to be sure that they are purely assets, not potential liabilities.

I will continue to fight for safe and durable roads and municipal sewage and water infrastructure. All of these things work together to assist our daily lives, and to keep us prepared and ready for when trouble strikes. We will continue to work together to resolve the immediate problems facing Ottawa County, while at the same time making smart investments in our future.

Our state must and will put the safety and security of all Michigan families — especially our children — first and foremost. Experts are continuing to investigate the source of PFAS contamination in Robinson Township and I am hopeful we will have answers to our questions soon, so that together we can work toward a long-term solution for our neighbors.

We will continue to work together to detect PFAS, protect all residents, drive down exposure levels and track down sources of contamination.

About the writer: State Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Township, represents the 89th House District, which includes Northwest Ottawa County. He can be reached by phone at 517-373-0838 or by email at [email protected]

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