Whitmer continues investment in Michigan’s water infrastructure
In early February, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer introduced her budget for the upcoming 2024 fiscal year, and State of Reform reported on some of the governor’s public health-related funding priorities. Whitmer’s budget also focuses on addressing the contaminated water from failing infrastructure and to support communities in having lead free service lines.
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Whitmer calls for an investment to replace thousands of lead pipes across the state, and she intends to invest in resources that will help create cleaner drinking water for residents. To fund these efforts, she proposes $225.7 million—$25.7 million ongoing and $200 million in one-time general funds—in department funding from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
The State Budget Office (SBO) told State of Reform this funding supplements Whitmer’s previous investments in water quality.
“This investment builds on the $1.9 billion in Public Act 53 of 2022 and $280 million through 2026 for water infrastructure and investments,” SBO said. “Since taking office, Gov. Whitmer has invested more in clean water infrastructure than the previous eight years combined.
“The Building Michigan Together Plan invested 15 times what Michigan normally puts toward clean water investment and infrastructure in any given year, which will go a long way toward making our state a national leader on the environment.”
The budget’s other EGLE provisions include:
- $122.5 million to ensure the quality and safety of Michigan drinking water. Funding will support water filter distribution as well as faucet and plumbing replacement in communities with lead contamination in water.
- $100 million to establish an environmental justice contaminated site clean-up fund to remediate and redevelop contaminated sites in historically disadvantaged and underrepresented communities.
- $5.2 million for orphan oil and gas well remediation to continue efforts to seal and remediate abandoned oil and gas wells, and adjacent areas, throughout the state.
“In Michigan, our water is part of who we are, and that means we must ensure all communities, regardless of zip code, have safe, clean and affordable drinking water,” said Lisa Wozniak, executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, in a statement.
“We have an opportunity to protect our health now and into the future by replacing lead pipes, investing in our groundwater and making sure water is affordable for communities across Michigan. We appreciate Governor Whitmer’s leadership and continued commitment on investing in our water from source-to-tap.”
More on the governor’s clean water actions is available on her website.