Capital Catch-Up: January 7, 2022

Capital Catch-Up: January 7, 2022

Join Michigan LCV in Support of Transformational Water Infrastructure Investments

As we begin the new year, Michigan LCV is committed to passing the largest and strongest version of SB 565 possible — a major $3.3 billion water infrastructure package. The bill, which originally called for $2.5 billion in supplemental spending using unappropriated American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds was increased after the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, last November. Last month, SB 565 was unanimously supported by the state Senate and is now under consideration by the House of Representatives. 

The proposed investment is vital to repair Michigan’s crumbling water infrastructure, and is timely after a summer of widespread flooding in the Detroit area, a lead drinking water crisis in Benton Harbor, and the catastrophic dam failure in Midland in 2020. Below is a summary of just a few of SB 565’s most important provisions: 

  • $1 billion in lead service line replacement using Bipartisan Infrastructure Funds, with a potential for increased investments using American Rescue Plan dollars
  • $435 million for waste/stormwater upgrades across the state, including funds for green infrastructure, failing septic tank replacement, and storm/sewer drain separation projects
  • $400 million for the Great Lakes Water Authority for drinking water, sewer, and stormwater upgrades in the city of Detroit and its metro area
  • $400 million for general drinking water upgrades in water treatment plants and along community water service lines, again with the potential for increased funding from the American Rescue Plan
  • $100 million for PFAS divided into three separate sections – remediation grants to local governments for sites that have no responsible party, $5M for an MSU PFAS testing facility, and $15M for a PFAS site off Muskegon Lake

As the House considers this vital piece of legislation, we encourage you to reach out to your lawmaker and voice your support for SB 565

Senator Winnie Brinks: A Champion for Clean Water!

As part of our ongoing commitment to holding decision-makers accountable for their record on conservation and democracy issues (including accolades), Michigan LCV maintains a legislative scorecard to track how each lawmaker has voted on key environmental priorities each session. The legislative scorecard is part of Michigan LCV’s accountability suite, which also includes our executive scorecards, How Green is Your Governor and How Green is Your Attorney General, and our judicial scorecard, the Green Gavels tool.

In this week’s scorecard highlight, we will be showcasing Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids). Senator Brinks has a lifetime 100% rating on conservation issues!

Sen. Brinks has served in the Legislature since 2013, first as a member of the House of Representatives and as a state Senator since 2019. During her time in the legislature, she has been a staunch advocate for clean water. Sen. Brinks worked to hold PFAS polluters accountable for clean up efforts and provide legal recourse for victims of PFAS pollution, supported legislation to support energy efficiency upgrades at water treatment plants, and has advocated for mandatory water filtration systems at public schools

As we enter into another election year, public accountability is more important than ever before. To learn more about Sen. Brinks and her voting record, or to check your own lawmaker’s score, check out our digital scorecard!

Public Service Spotlight! — Martin Johnston

In the Public Service Spotlight Michigan LCV features decision-makers, public interest advocates, and staff working in Lansing and across the state engaged in state government policy-making. If you know of someone who works tirelessly in the public interest, please send your nominations to Tim Cohn at [email protected].  At the end of the 2021 session all nominees will be entered into a contest for Michigan LCV lawmaker and top public servant recognitions.    

Martin Johnston is a Scheduler and Constituent Relations Assistant for Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City). Michigan LCV would like to recognize and thank Martin for his continued leadership on conservation issues! In particular, Martin has been instrumental in the preservation of Michigan’s public lands and waters. He has worked consistently to advance the statewide 30×30 conservation efforts to preserve at least 30% of the state’s land and water by 2030. Martin’s work will help future generations of Michiganders share in the state’s proud outdoor heritage, ensure clean air and water, and preserve species habitats. We are lucky to have Martin as a conservation champion in Lansing!

Q: What environmental issues do you think are most important statewide?

A: “To me, the most important environmental issue in Michigan is protecting our waterways. That means protecting our cherished natural resources like the Great Lakes and the thousands of smaller inland lakes throughout Michigan. As a young person in this line of work, I am at the forefront of conversations surrounding environmental issues. This is an area of politics that is incredibly divisive and separates groups among party lines. But, as a West Michigan resident, anyone who has spent time on Michigan’s Western coastline knows that it should not be controversial to want to be a good steward of the 1.3 quadrillion gallons of fresh water in Lake Michigan. As one of the top states in the nation for the number of registered boats, it is on all of us to keep our waterways clean and healthy.” 

Q: What environmental issue which you have worked on are you most proud of?

A: “I am proud to have worked on a nationwide ‘30×30’ conservation effort. Senate Resolution 72 would establish a statewide goal of conserving at least 30 percent of land and 30 percent of water by the year 2030. Because of our great love for the outdoors in Michigan, we should do our part and join the national effort to conserve land and protect nature by joining the global commitment to protect 30 percent of all lands and waters by 2030—a commitment that is widely supported by Americans and Michiganders of all walks of life.”

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