FLOW reacts positively to the Governor’s proposal
The budget proposal announced by Governor Whitmer on February 8 contains hundreds of millions of dollars in new and increased funding for vital water needs and is an encouraging sign as the new legislative session gets into full swing.
Whitmer’s budget for the fiscal year that begins next October 1 includes the following items:
- $280.5 million for local wastewater and drinking water infrastructure;
- $226 million to remove and replace 40,000 lead service lines over the next 10 years;
- $122.5 million to ensure the quality of drinking water through water filter distribution, and faucet and plumbing replacement in residences with lead pipes;
- $100 million to establish an environmental justice contamination cleanup and redevelopment fund for sites in underrepresented and underserved communities. The Governor says the initiative will also expand air pollution controls in historically disadvantaged and underrepresented communities. “This funding will begin the process of rectifying environmental injustice,” the budget says.
- $25 million for the removal of dams, allowing natural flow of rivers and preventing catastrophic dam failures.
- $23.8 million to conduct studies and collect data on Michigan’s groundwater resources.
- $7 million for a new, interactive groundwater database.
FLOW is reacting positively to the Governor’s proposal. “Whitmer’s budget reflects her Administration’s continued commitment to securing safe, affordable drinking water for all,” said Liz Kirkwood, FLOW’s Executive Director.
Kirkwood said the Governor’s groundwater funding proposals are welcome. Groundwater protection is a FLOW priority. “We applaud the Administration’s commitment to investing in groundwater management and protection. For too long, Michigan has ignored the vital role of groundwater in protecting our drinking water and the ecological health of rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands.
“Moving forward,” Kirkwood continued, “FLOW will work to ensure decision-makers scale up long-term investments in our water infrastructure with affordable rates, groundwater management and protection, and climate and community resiliency.”
In a separate bill already signed by the Governor, the Michigan Legislature approved $25 million to establish a water affordability program that would prevent the shutoff of water services to residential customers struggling to pay their water service bills. While the fund lands well short of the need, its establishment is an encouraging sign that the Governor and Legislature understand water service is essential to all Michiganders.