Water, Clean Energy Budget Boosts in Governor’s Budget

Funds to help communities deal with stormwater pollution triggered by climate change and to support water infrastructure are among budget increases proposed by Governor Whitmer.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1 also includes some increases for clean energy initiatives that build on climate legislation that became law last year.

But these increases pale in comparison to a $150 million subsidy the Governor is proposing for restarting the Palisades nuclear plant near South Haven. This would be on top of $150 million in state money already set aside for the plant restart. A federal government loan would be necessary to set the restart in motion.

“We are pleased that the governor continues to emphasize clean water and clean energy in her budget recommendations. But the combined $300 million proposed for restarting a nuclear plant could go a long way towards solutions for Michigan’s drinking water and waste water issues instead,” remarked Liz Kirkwood, executive director of For Love of Water.

Released on February 7, the budget includes $40 million to provide loans and grants to local communities for water infrastructure, and $15.3 million to assist municipalities in mitigating and adapting to climate change through the installation of green stormwater diversion infrastructure.

It also includes $25 million to install charging stations at multi-family residential complexes and commercial parking lots, and $20 million to provide grants to municipalities, transit authorities, and key infrastructure hubs to replace medium and heavy-duty fleet vehicles with emission free alternatives such as battery EVs and hydrogen fuel based vehicles.

The budget proposes an increase in fees for landfilling solid waste in Michigan to extend “the lifespan of Michigan landfills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from solid waste, and drive economic growth by increasing the tipping fee to competitive parity with neighboring states.”

The budget also proposes turning the state recreation passport, which provides access to state parks, from an opt-in to an opt-out, meaning the fee would be assessed unless a citizen explicitly declines it when obtaining an annual vehicle registration.  That would raise $17.1 million in funds to support state parks. The current annual passport fee is $14.

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