DETROIT, Mich. (Aug. 10, 2021) — Today, Democratic legislators from the Michigan Senate and House proposed a bold climate resilience plan to enact systemic changes and provide much-needed funding to Michigan’s aging infrastructure, and to address the devastating effects of widespread flooding caused by extreme climate events.
Sens. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills), Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), and Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak), and Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck), participated in the press conference, along with affected area residents.
“We are proposing bold changes because that is what Michiganders need to address the decades of lack of investment in our water infrastructure. We need a strong, comprehensive, coordinated climate resilience plan for our state,” Sen. Chang said. “Homes, businesses, and freeways have been inundated by severe storms, and it will only get worse unless we act with urgency. The need for climate infrastructure resilience policies that support Michiganders, create jobs, and prevent the disastrous effects of climate changes has never been greater. This plan will make a dramatic difference for our neighborhoods.”
Included in the climate resilience plan are proposals for:
This plan includes a historic and badly needed investment in Michigan’s water infrastructure. As we have seen with past crises — such as the Flint Water Crisis, when contaminated drinking water was discovered, or in Midland when a malfunction occurred with the Secord Lake Dam that caused major flooding throughout the city — Michigan desperately needs to modernize, adapt, and be prepared for future events caused by climate change.
“These vital and overdue investments in our water infrastructure will bring good-paying jobs and go a long way toward cleaning up our lakes, rivers, and waterways, and protecting our drinking water as well as preventing future storms from flooding homes and threatening families,” Sen. Bayer said. “We cannot continue to be blind to what future climate changes will bring to our state. We must plan and prepare now in order to protect our residents tomorrow and for generations to come.”
Additionally, the plan includes a proposed $5 billion investment in Michigan’s water and climate resilience infrastructure, which would benefit residents throughout the state, including Detroiters who continue to suffer from repeated flood events. This investment would ensure safe, clean water for all households; an upgrade to storm and wastewater filtration systems; and, continued work on developing infrastructure to protect Michigan’s precious groundwater resources. The funds provided by the investment would cover local planning and resiliency grants, dam safety and infrastructure, lead-line replacements, clean water infrastructure grants, and water affordability.
“Detroit and Michigan need a Climate Resiliency Plan and we need to fund our water infrastructure upgrades. Because now every time it rains, I am running from my front door to my basement door to see if I have any more feces in my basement,” said Tammy Black, Manistique Community Treehouse president and Jefferson-Chalmers resident. “This causes stress and anxiety to the lives of the people living in the communities who have no power to fix the problem.”
The legislators are working on legislation to encompass the climate resilience plan and water infrastructure investment proposal, and are looking forward to working with all stakeholders and building support for urgent action on climate resilience.
“Water infrastructure is one of the things we see the least but impacts us the most. This summer, we saw record rainfall that destroyed homes and livelihoods. We have to prioritize taking care of our residents who’ve lost so much and work to mitigate these problems from happening again,” Rep. Aiyash said. “The climate has changed, but our infrastructure hasn’t. This isn’t an issue we can emergency fund our way out of. This will require collaborative, creative solutions with federal, state and local partners — and our climate resiliency plan that supports flood victims and invests in better infrastructure is a solid first step.”
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