Minnesota’s Air pollution Management Company (MPCA) proposed a PFAS Blueprint, a complete plan to deal with PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in Minnesota. The proposal particulars the short-term and long-term priorities of MPCA to stop PFAS air pollution, advance PFAS analysis, incorporate PFAS into regulatory packages, and enhance the effectivity of cleanups at PFAS-contaminated websites.
- The Blueprint is among the most complete statewide efforts to deal with PFAS, and in some elements, goes additional than the EPA’s PFAS Motion Plan.
- The Blueprint is a planning doc, not legislation. Many, however not all, of the Blueprint’s initiatives would require legislative motion to implement.
- Criticism of efforts like these in Minnesota and different states has centered on the shortage of scientific information establishing exact well being dangers of publicity to PFAS. In response, the Blueprint proposes to deal with that shortfall by funding and advancing analysis on dangers to human well being.
- Different states could undertake related approaches within the close to future.
The Backside Line
Over the past 4 years, states have taken the lead in PFAS regulation and enforcement, whereas the EPA has been sluggish to behave. Now, between states’ initiatives just like the Minnesota PFAS Blueprint and the Biden administration’s elevated deal with PFAS, stakeholders ought to put together for a big uptick in PFAS regulatory and doubtlessly enforcement actions within the years to come back. PFAS laws are anticipated from the EPA, however business ought to pay shut consideration to state actions on PFAS, as they typically embody stricter environmental requirements and are more likely to be tailor-made to the precise industries within the state.
Minnesota’s Air pollution Management Company (MPCA) proposed a PFAS Blueprint on February 10, 2021. The Blueprint is a complete plan and is meant to guard Minnesotans and the atmosphere from PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).
PFAS are extremely sturdy chemical compounds which have been used for greater than 50 years in a wide range of purposes, together with in non-stick cookware and carpet protectant and within the manufacturing of cell telephones and different digital gadgets. They’ve essential oil-, water-, temperature-, and fire-resistant attributes in addition to electrical insulating properties. However they persist within the atmosphere and have been allegedly linked to a lot of well being considerations.
The Blueprint is actually MPCA’s want record for PFAS initiatives within the state. The Blueprint focuses on just a few most important themes: air pollution prevention, investigation of PFAS discharges, regulatory improvement, environmental monitoring, and toxicity analysis.
Particulars on the primary three themes comply with.
Air pollution prevention
Air pollution prevention approaches can be marketed to scale back publicity to poisonous chemical compounds and forestall the necessity for costly therapy and remediation efforts. Minnesota has already taken some air pollution prevention actions that do carry the pressure of legislation at this time: banning using PFAS-containing firefighting foams for coaching and take a look at functions; eradicating PFAS-containing merchandise from Minnesota contracts for compostable merchandise; and inspiring using fluorine-free firefighting foams. The Blueprint proposes going a step additional by (1) requiring PFAS labeling on merchandise; (2) limiting or banning PFAS in meals packaging; and (3) implementing public sector buying pointers to finish purchases of PFAS-containing merchandise.
Labeling necessities and banning PFAS in meals packaging would require legislative measures. State and native buying pointers may very well be carried out by MPCA’s Sustainable Supplies Administration Unit and the Division of Administration Workplace of State Procurement. These air pollution prevention initiatives are distinctive as a result of they have an effect on industries, like state universities, that will not now be targeted on environmental laws as utilized to buying.
Investigation of PFAS discharges
MPCA and Minnesota Division of Well being (MDH) have already established health-based cleanup values for a number of PFAS in a number of media. Beneath the Blueprint, MPCA emphasizes its efforts to research and remediate websites related to PFAS releases from steel plating industries and from makes use of of PFAS-containing firefighting foam. The Blueprint additionally describes the Pilot PFAS Stock, which might broaden present databases of identified and potential PFAS-contaminated websites and instruments to prioritize investigations into these websites. The Pilot PFAS Stock combines present monitoring information for PFAS, information on kinds of industrial exercise occurring in Minnesota, and information on geologic susceptibility of aquifers to prioritize websites for PFAS investigation. Thus, previous or current textile, paper, and chemical manufacturing amenities could be part of steel plating and PFAS manufacturing considerations, as websites for precedence itemizing on the PFAS Stock.
MDH has carried out health-based steering values for consuming water for a number of PFAS: PFOA, PFOS, PFBS, PFHxS, PFBA, PFPeA, and PFHxA. Importantly, these aren’t enforceable consuming water requirements like most contaminant ranges (MCLs). The truth is, in response to the Blueprint, MDH is just not at present creating consuming water requirements for PFAS. As an alternative, the Blueprint effort proposes to focus upon creating health-based steering for added PFAS and increasing monitoring of PFAS in consuming water.
The Blueprint additionally proposes particularly including PFAS to the definition of hazardous substances below the Minnesota Environmental Response and Legal responsibility Act (MERLA)—Minnesota’s state-level statute utilized to command cleanup of contaminated properties. Minnesota has already taken motion to clean-up PFAS contamination below authorities offered by MERLA as a result of PFAS are at present thought of hazardous substances based mostly on their properties as hazardous waste below Minn. Stat. 116.06, subd. 11. The Blueprint, nevertheless, proposes to particularly designate PFAS as a hazardous substance to make clear MPCA’s authority to answer releases of PFAS below MERLA whereas on the identical time irritating authorized challenges. This designation would might permit MPCA to get better prices from accountable events that fail to take all acceptable and needed actions to research or clean-up releases of PFAS as offered in Minn. Stat. 115B.04.
The proposal to make use of MERLA, nevertheless, lacks specificity. Not all PFAS are created equal, and including all PFAS to the MERLA record of hazardous substances wouldn’t and couldn’t within the first occasion be based mostly on established dangers to human well being or the atmosphere. Observe, on January 14, 2021, the EPA signed an Advance Discover of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to find out whether or not sure PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) must be regulated as hazardous substances below CERCLA (MERLA’s federal counterpart) and dangerous waste below RCRA, however that ANPRM is present process evaluate in accordance with the Regulatory Freeze issued on January 20, 2021.
Trying Outdoors Minnesota
Minnesota has been a sizzling mattress of PFAS-related points, however it’s removed from the one state involved with PFAS. A number of states have already promulgated consuming water requirements and remediation requirements for 2 kinds of PFAS (PFOA and PFOS), lots of that are stricter than the EPA’s well being advisory stage of 70 elements per trillion for consuming water. State motion, a minimum of till now, has been largely a results of EPA’s inaction. Nonetheless, the Biden administration has made clear that PFAS is a precedence and stakeholders can count on a number of PFAS actions out of EPA below Administrator Michael Regan’s management. For instance, the EPA recently re-proposed the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) to gather new information on PFAS in consuming water, and the company reissued a remaining regulatory determinations to control PFOA acid PFOS below the Secure Consuming Water Act (SDWA).