Chang on restoration of water service for Detroiters

LANSING — Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) has issued the following statement on the decision by Detroit officials yesterday to restore water service to thousands of households that had their water turned off, ensuring their access to clean, running water while concerns of a coronavirus outbreak continue to grow:

“I am pleased to see proactive steps being taken to protect residents who have been affected by water shutoffs, but I also hope we continue the conversation about a long-term solution to this issue that affects potentially tens of thousands. Affordable and accessible water is a human right. Whether we are using it to drink, wash our hands, clean our food, or bathe — it is an essential part of life. My colleagues and I have introduced legislation to address shutoffs, billing and affordability, and we will keep working to ensure everyone sees the justice they deserve on this issue.”

Detroit residents have seen their water bills rise 65% from 2010 to 2018, resulting in families paying nearly $1,200 a year in water bills — among the highest in the country. As a result, many working families have been unable to afford their bills and their water has been shut off. 

Sen. Chang has introduced legislation, Senate Bill 241, to create the Water Shutoff Protection Act that would protect seniors, families with children, people who are seriously ill or disabled, and pregnant women from shutoffs. It also specifies information and timelines for shutoff notices.

The bill was introduced alongside other water justice legislation, including Senate Bills 240, 242, and 243, as well as legislation in the House. All Senate legislation remains in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. 

Sen. Chang represents the 1st Senate District that includes the cities of Detroit, Ecorse, Gibraltar, River Rouge, Riverview, Trenton, Woodhaven, and Wyandotte, as well as the townships of Grosse Ile and Brownstown (part).

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