Tags: Biden Administration | governors | water | infrastructure | improvements

Governors Ask Biden to Prioritize Water Projects Infrastructure

 water floods the land
Aerial view of the dam that the Tittabawassee River breached on May 20, 2020 in Sanford, Michigan.(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 March 2021 04:45 PM

Four Democrat governors are urging on President Joe Biden to emphasize water projects as part of his latest legislative push, a reported $4 trillion infrastructure bill.

The Hill reports that Democrat Govs. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Tim Walz of Wisconsin, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois sent a letter to Biden claiming lingering issues resulting from aging water systems.

The governors blamed the lead contamination of drinking water in Flint, Michigan, on a “historic disinvestment” in water infrastructure, “which left that former automotive powerhouse with a failing, oversized system and a shrinking rate base."

Two years ago, however, a team of researchers reported that the city once again had clean water running through the city's water system.

The governors also seek money for wastewater and storm water projects, justifying it by saying increased precipitation means residents of the Great Lakes region are at risk for flooding and other consequences of heavy rainfall such as overflowing sewer systems.

In Minnesota, they claim there are “more than 200 annual releases to surface waters of partially treated or untreated wastewater that impacts downstream communities and aquatic life.”

They also insisted water systems have experienced increased water main breaks, resulting in service interruptions and health advisories. The Great Lakes region are at particular risk, they said, because of the area's colder winters.

Poor dam maintenance was another concern and the letter cited flooding in May after privately operated dams on the Tittabawassee River failed. Four of the dams on the river were built in 1924 to generate hydroelectric power.

Additionally, the letter said Illinois has more than 200 municipalities with sewer systems incapable of handling wastewater or runoff, and the state also suffers from a lack of wastewater treatment and collection facilities.

The governors stress that infrastructure projects should prioritize replacing lead service lines and updating wastewater treatment facilities, followed by upgrading water systems and structural issues.

“The health of our families, 21% of the world’s fresh drinking water, and 51 million jobs depend on our immediate, collective action," Whitmer wrote. "We ask for your partnership and prioritization of critical water infrastructure going forward.”

“We are grateful for the American Rescue Plan’s significant aid to our communities and await the bold infrastructure elements laid out in the Build Back Better plan and proposed in the President’s budget.”

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan has said that addressing "environmental justice" will be a priority under his leadership, according to Bloomberg.

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Four Democrat governors are urging on President Joe Biden to emphasize water projects as part of his latest legislative push, a reported $4 trillion infrastructure bill.
governors, water, infrastructure, improvements
Tuesday, 30 March 2021 04:45 PM
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