LANSING — The Michigan League of Conservation Voters today released the following statement regarding the Michigan House and Senate’s passage of budget legislation that would empty billions of dollars from the state budget as Michigan households and communities fight to recover from the pandemic. The legislation also leaves millions of dollars in federal funds unallocated that could go toward health priorities, like cleaning up contaminated sites and funding energy efficiency.
“At a time when costs are high, this Legislature is poised to empty state coffers and leave federal funds in DC that could be invested right now into Michigan communities. Now is the time to build the local infrastructure to provide lasting relief on energy costs while protecting our air, water, and public health,” said Nick Occhipinti, Government Affairs Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “Right now, Michigan has over 24,000 contaminated sites, threatening our drinking and wastewater infrastructure. We had record, sweltering temps in early May, and the next sustained heat wave or extreme storm could challenge our energy grid. We have the resources right now, unique in our history, to address these challenges, and we have the state and federal funds to do it. It’s on the legislature to act.”
Three key federal funding opportunities in the Governor’s budget proposal that are left on the table with the Republicans’ plan are:
- $7.2M for the Energy Efficiency Grants – This program would provide grants to local communities and businesses to help implement energy efficiency projects. Energy efficiency is the cheapest way to increase electrical grid capacity, and every dollar invested in efficiency gives an estimated $3.30 in benefits. Furthermore, energy efficiency projects often improve indoor air quality and help keep homes comfortable during all seasons.
- $31M for Orphan Well Remediation – At the beginning of the budget process, the Governor proposed moving funds to help identify, seal, and remediate orphaned oil and gas wells in the state. Currently, Michigan has over 24,000 contaminated sites, many of which threaten to leach toxic chemicals (including petroleum) into underground drinking water aquifers. While the House included federal funding for this program, both chambers refused to grant staff to actually carry out the work.
- $15.8M for the Environmental Sustainability and Stewardship Program – This program serves as ‘home base’ for critical, community focused programs, including Charge Up Michigan, which helps local communities install EV charging stations and prepare for the EV future, and the Pollution Prevention program, which offers technical assistance to businesses and communities to reduce waste and other potentially pollutive materials. Once again, the House approved funding, but did not approve staff to implement programs.