The Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV) recently announced its award to former Corunna resident Tony Spaniola for environmental leadership in tackling Michigan’s PFAS crisis. The award was presented on Wednesday, Nov. 17 as part of Michigan LCV’s annual Equity and the Environment Gala, held each year to recognize leaders on the frontlines working to protect Michigan’s air, land, water and our democracy. A full list of awardees, including Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Assistant Secretary of State Heaster Wheeler, can be found at https://michiganlcv.org/event/equity-the-environment-2021/.

    “I am truly honored to receive this recognition from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters,” said Tony Spaniola. “I became a PFAS advocate out of necessity, seeing my up-north neighbors and community in Oscoda impacted by these toxic chemicals in our water and our wildlife. PFAS chemicals have been found in the blood of over 98-percent of the American population – and Michigan LCV has been a valuable partner in pushing for accountability and action to clean up these dangerous chemicals and protect our health.”

    Spaniola is a Detroit area attorney who became a leading national PFAS advocate after learning that his family’s lake home in Oscoda is impacted by PFAS contamination from the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base – the first reported PFAS site in Michigan and the first reported U.S. military PFAS site in the world.

    With his neighbors in Oscoda, Spaniola co-founded Need Our Water (NOW) in 2017 and has helped it become one of the nation’s preeminent PFAS community action groups. Building on that experience, he co-founded and co-chairs the recently formed Great Lakes PFAS Action Network, and he serves on the Leadership Team of the National PFAS Contamination Coalition, comprised of community-based PFAS groups throughout the country.

    Spaniola was among the first to bring the PFAS crisis to the attention of candidates and elected officials in Michigan. He was involved in drafting the first PFAS legislation introduced in the Michigan Legislature, and he is among those credited by Congressman Dan Kildee in suggesting the concept that led to the creation of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force. He served as a PFAS policy advisor to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in her 2018 election campaign and he continues to work closely with elected officials in Michigan and nationally on PFAS policy matters.

    Spaniola has delivered PFAS presentations at colleges and universities across the country and is frequently quoted in state and national media coverage of PFAS issues. In 2019, he was the only non-scientist to address the National Academy of Sciences at its inaugural PFAS Workshop in Washington, D.C. He has appeared in three PFAS film documentaries and served as a consultant to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sara Ganim on her critically-acclaimed film, “No Defense: The U.S. Military’s War On Water.”

   Spaniola is a graduate of Corunna High School, Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School. He practices commercial law at Ufer, Spaniola & Frost, P.C. in Troy.

Michigan LCV Awards Spaniola and Other Environmental Leaders was last modified: November 23rd, 2021 by Karen Elford