Whitmer Signs Legislation Boosting State Environmental Budget

In late September, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a budget for state government that makes significant investments in environmental and energy programs. The funds will be spent in the state fiscal year that began October 1.

Drinking water, climate resiliency and contamination cleanup programs received the largest allocations.  Here are the highlights.

Reducing Human Exposure to Toxic Lead
  • $10 million for an initial investment to begin the replacement of lead service lines in Benton Harbor to provide access to safe drinking water.  

  • $10 million for the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund to help eliminate lead poisoning in homes by injecting private capital into lead remediation efforts.

Cleaning Up Water Pollution and Protecting Drinking Water
  • $15 million for the Emergency Drinking Water Fund. The money will be used to replace lead service lines, provide alternate drinking water connections, support testing and public awareness and outreach, and pay for technical assistance and planning activities.

  • $25 million to clean up the Western Lake Erie Basin by reducing phosphorus levels.  

  • $14 million to address PFAS, the so-called “forever chemicals” that remain in the environment for long periods and threaten human health, and other emerging contaminants. Up to $5 million in grants will go to local units of government, including municipal airports and independent airport authorities for the remediation, monitoring, or testing related to PFAS, and up to $4.75 million will go to local health departments for PFAS response.

  • $20 million to clean up contaminated sites across the state.

Coping with Climate Change and Promoting Clean, Efficient Energy

  • $14.3 million to fund high water level and resilient infrastructure and planning grants to local governments for projects that address issues like coastal erosion, flooding, transportation networks, urban heat, and stormwater management.  

  • $5 million for the State Facility Green Revolving Fund, which is a catalyst for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at state facilities, helping reduce the state’s carbon footprint.

  • $5 million for a pilot program to promote pre-weatherization construction, renovation, and repair services required to make single and multi-family structures eligible for energy efficiency or weatherization programs. 

The new budget also contains $19 million for dam repairs and replacements to mitigate flooding and hazards caused by dam malfunction.

The new budget also provides funds for a public health drinking water unit in the Department of Health and Human Services for enhanced efforts to monitor child blood lead levels. The department is also required to maintain a vapor intrusion response unit to assess risks to public health at vapor intrusion sites and respond to vapor intrusion risks where appropriate. At scores of sites across the state, chemical contaminants have penetrated the interior of buildings where people live and work, threatening their health.

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