A Judge Authorized $54 Million Wolverine Global-neighborhood Settlement
A court in Grand Rapids has approved a settlement between a large shoe manufacturer, Wolverine International, and Kent County residents who claimed the firm polluted their land and drinking water with dangerous “forever chemicals.”
Wolverine Worldwide’s history of dumping chemical-laced sludge into streams in northern Kent County has resulted in PFAS pollution. The company has agreed to compensate local homeowners in the affected regions $54 million.
Around 1,700 homes north of Grand Rapids are included in the community. A points system will be used to determine an individual’s settlement amount, with points awarded depending on variables such as the presence of PFAS in their drinking water. All eligible residents are located inside the marked areas on the map-
Perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are persistent compounds that do not degrade quickly in the environment and remain for long periods in the water or soil, as stated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure to PFAS, sometimes known as “forever chemicals,” may be hazardous to the health of both animals and people.
According to U.S. District Judge Hala Jarbou, “The settlement is fair, reasonable, adequate and meets the standards for preliminary approval,” which she issued in September of last year.
The class action complaint was launched in 2017 against Rockford-based Wolverine Worldwide and Minnesota-based 3M, which employed perfluorinated compounds (PFAS) in producing a waterproofing product that Wolverine Worldwide used.
To “do the right thing for our community,” Wolverine Global emphasized the importance of the settlement in September.
The shoe manufacturer is now in talks with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to develop a plan to clean up the Rogue River and other locations contaminated with perfluorinated alkyl substances. EGLE shot down the proposal in March. The deadline for Wolverine Global to submit revised plans is May 9.
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