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Groups back $5B water infrastructure plan proposed by lawmakers

Funding would address critical clean drinking water improvements, build climate-resilient infrastructure across Michigan.

LANSING – A bold proposal unveiled by Michigan lawmakers today will address essential drinking water needs while ensuring the state’s infrastructure is built to withstand the effects of climate change, a coalition of groups said in endorsing the $5 billion plan. 

The investment would be split across several key priority areas, including: 

  • $1.5 billion for storm and wastewater infrastructure;
  • $1.2 billion in local grants to replace lead pipes and other drinking water infrastructure;
  • $900 million for dam safety;
  • $700 million to address contaminated sites; and
  • $450 million for shoreline protection and restoration projects. 

“This proposal meets the moment!  Investing in our infrastructure to ensure delivery of safe drinking water is a wise use of Michigan’s once-in-a-generation federal stimulus,” said Nick Occhipinti, government affairs director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “If we address the impacts of climate change by building resilient infrastructure, we can create jobs for Michigan workers and support our local communities. We support the vision embraced by this bold and tenacious plan introduced by lawmakers today.”

Another $50 million would be dedicated to PFAS cleanup, while an additional $50 million would fund the creation of a Michigan Climate Resilience Corps and Disaster Alert System.

“Massive flooding in recent weeks clearly shows the need for a more comprehensive alert system and disaster relief navigators for people to be able to put their lives back together,” said Charlotte Jameson, program director for legislative affairs, energy and drinking water at the Michigan Environmental Council. “The Michigan Climate Resilience Corps is a fresh idea. Partnering with stakeholders, these climate resilience projects could be deployed throughout Michigan and allow community members to protect their neighborhoods, get job training skills and earn a living wage.”

Earlier this week, the International Panel on Climate Change released a new report concluding that “human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years.” Greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise and “human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.”

“We applaud this plan to help Michiganders, our communities, and our Great Lakes be more resilient to the climate impacts that are already disrupting our lives,” said Kate Madigan, director of the Michigan Climate Action Network. “The world’s leading scientists made clear in the climate report released yesterday that climate impacts will continue to get worse for the next 20 to 30 years. We know low-income and minority communities bear a larger burden from climate change. This proposal addresses those inequities while building a Michigan that’s stronger than ever.”

Contact: Stephanie Cepak, Byrum & Fisk Communications, 517-862-2036

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