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2021 Accomplishments Countdown: Water, Clean Energy, and the Environment


December 26, 2021 


2021 Accomplishments Countdown: Water, Clean Energy, and the Environment 

Governor Whitmer counts down to 2022 by highlighting administration's progress on 10 kitchen-table issues that makes a difference in people's lives 

LANSING, Mich. - The Whitmer-Gilchrist administration is counting down the last 10 days of 2021 by celebrating Michigan's progress on 10 kitchen-table fundamental issues. Today we celebrate progress Michigan has made on protecting our water, environment, and climate.  

"In Michigan, our waters literally define us. We are surrounded by the extraordinary Great Lakes, which are home to 21% of the world's fresh surface water, support millions of jobs, and provide drinking water and recreation opportunities to tens of millions of families," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "I will always protect our waters-source to tap-for generations to come by defending the Great Lakes, ensuring every family has access to safe drinking water, putting Michigan on a path to a clean energy economy, and investing in Pure Michigan recreation and tourism." 

"I deeply appreciate Gov. Whitmer's commitment to outdoor recreation and to safeguarding the economy and ecology of our state's natural resources," said Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger. "The governor's proposed $400 million investment in state and local parks marks a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address legacy needs across treasured recreational spaces. Her continued push to keep invasive carp out of Lake Michigan addresses one of the most urgent threats to Michigan's signature natural resource, the Great Lakes. Strides like these will help ensure that we properly protect and manage Michigan's natural resources for our children and their children." 

"Surrounded by 20% of the planet's fresh surface water, Michigan has a special stewardship responsibility to ensure this tremendous resource is protected for generations to come," said Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Director Liesl Clark. "We are so grateful that Governor Whitmer has prioritized water - along with other vital issues including carbon neutrality, environmental justice, transparency and accountability - as cornerstones of her agenda. The work underway on the MI Clean Water and MI Health Climate initiatives will pay dividends in a healthy quality of life for our children and grandchildren." 

Getting Things Done 

Governor Whitmer is committed to defending our Great Lakes, leading the state into a clean energy future, addressing the impacts of climate change on our communities, and creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs in industries of the future. She understands that the health of our economy is inextricably linked to the health of our people and our planet. Since taking office, she has invested more resources into water infrastructure than the previous five years combined. These investments support good-paying jobs and ensure every parent can give their kid a glass of drinking water and know that it's safe. She also launched the MI Healthy Climate Plan that set goals to make all sectors of the economy carbon neutral by 2050 and ensure the communities and workers impacted by climate change will benefit from our energy transition. The Governor has made critical investments in our parks, trails, and public lands to create jobs, boost surrounding economies, and ensure that all families can enjoy "Pure Michigan." 

Key Numbers 

  • Invested over $2 billion from the State Revolving Funds and Community Development Block Grant in drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater facilities across the state, supporting 30,000 jobs.  
  • Launched MI Clean Water, a $500 million drinking and wastewater infrastructure plan to address high water rates, lead-laden water service lines, toxic contaminants like PFAS, sewers that can't meet demand, and failing septic systems, supporting 7,500 jobs. To date, $210 million of the plan has been obligated to rebuild drinking water infrastructure but $290 million still needs to be appropriated for clean water infrastructure improvements.  
  • Proposed a $500 million expansion to MI Clean Water to ensure communities have the resources they need to address water infrastructure concerns and remove lead service lines, supporting 7,500 jobs. 
  • Worked with Attorney General Nessel to achieve the largest settlement in Michigan's history for Flint's children and families, totaling $600 million in response to the Flint water crisis.  
  • Launched the Water Utility Assistance Program, the largest investment in water assistance in Michigan history.  
  • Deployed?solar panels on state-owned lands and buildings and?committed to?powering state government with?100% renewable energy by 2025. 
  • Invested over $100 million in parks and public lands. Proposed investing an additional $400 million to revitalize state and community parks, trails, and recreation facilities to make public lands more accessible, support local economies, and help Michigan become a more attractive destination for tourism. 

Additional water, clean energy, and environmental accomplishments can be found here. 

"The Michigan Pipe Trades Association applauds the work of Governor Whitmer and her administration's unprecedented investments in clean water," said Jeremy Garza, Michigan Pipe Trades Association. "The licensed members of the United Association are ready to continue the great work done this year replacing lead service lines to keep Michiganders safe, but we know there is much more work to be done. We look forward to fixing the damn pipes and appreciate the administration's relentless focus on creating jobs and investing in infrastructure." 

"The Great Lakes Business Network, representing nearly 200 business leaders across the region, recognizes the outstanding leadership from Governor Whitmer on several?issues critical to the Great Lakes," said Kris Spaulding, President & Owner of Brewery Vivant and Broad Leaf Brewery & Spirits. "The Governor has boldly acted to protect the Great Lakes, and state and tribal rights, from Enbridge in her efforts to shut down the Line 5 oil pipeline. The?GLBN also strongly supports her management?plan to eliminate harmful nutrient pollution?in Lake Erie, her actions to address climate change with the MI Healthy Climate Plan, and her pledge to have Michigan be 100% fossil-fuel free by 2050." 

"The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council represents over 140 advanced energy companies doing business in the state with a mission to grow Michigan's advanced energy economy," said Dr. Laura Sherman, President of Michigan EIBC. "We are supportive of the Governor's investments in solar, wind, electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and other sectors of advanced energy, both in the State's efforts to lead by example and enable critical infrastructure. Michigan businesses look forward to the opportunity to continue to partner with the administration to utilize federal investments to create jobs, support small businesses, and bolster Michigan's advanced energy sector." 

"MTA recognizes Governor Whitmer's commitment to protecting Michigan's most precious natural resource-our water-that is vital to every community in the Great Lakes State," said Neil Sheridan, Executive Director of the Michigan Townships Assocation. "Whether for safe drinking water, high water issues and erosion control, or wastewater infrastructure and failing septic systems, additional state investments and support are essential to ensure that local officials can provide critical services to their residents. We applaud the governor for her efforts to promote and improve local parks and recreation facilities and access-which benefits all Michiganders, our economy, and our state's future." 

"At a time when drinking water and our Great Lakes are under siege from widespread contaminants, like toxic PFAS, and the impacts of climate change, Governor Whitmer has led with determination to protect public health and the environment," said Lisa WozniakExecutive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.?"Governor Whitmer has prioritized the health of our communities, the protection of our water and tackling the climate crisis, understanding the fundamental link to our state's economy and the well-being of the people who live, work, and play in this beautiful state." 

"This year, we saw a large commitment to parks and recreation from both the administration and the legislature," said Clay Summers, Executive Director of the Michigan Parks and Recreation Association. "We are so excited to hit the ground running in 2022 knowing that Michigan is ready to invest in our public spaces."  

"Water defines Michigan. Governor Whitmer recognizes this, and her MI Clean Water Plan will help define Michigan's future," said Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director, For Love of Water (FLOW). "Our economy and our health will benefit from the investments she has made and others she has proposed. The Governor's water agenda as a whole has led to major accomplishments, from championing some of the nation's most health-protective drinking water standards for toxic PFAS to assuring access to clean water for all Michigan residents during the pandemic."