MRWA October 2021 Legislative Update

Jon Bumstead
Michigan State Senator
Director, Muskegon River Watershed Assembly

Dear Friends,

The Michigan Legislature recently voted to finalize the state’s fiscal year 2022 budget plan. As chair of the DNR and EGLE budgets, I’ve made protecting our clean water and natural resources a legislative priority.

The DNR budget included funding to support important programs and services to preserve and protect our natural resources without increasing user fees. The budget included $320,000 to improve the online search tool that people can use to find state parks, recreation areas, and state forest campgrounds based on location and types of available activities and recreation.  The budget also included $7 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Authority, and $2 million to make our fish hatcheries operate more efficiently.

The EGLE budget provided key funding that will help protect and improve our clean water resources. The EGLE budget includes the following highlights:

  • $45 million for water infrastructure improvements.
  • $20 million for an environmental contamination rapid response team.
  • $15 million for drinking water emergency assistance.
  • $14.45 for the emergency fund to clean up PFAS.
  • $14.35 for high water infrastructure grants to protect shorelines.
  • $13 million to administer the emergency dam safety grant program.

I am happy that my colleagues and I in the Legislature are continuing to support dam safety as well as funding initiatives aimed at protecting the Great Lakes and the environment. Over the years, my office has had numerous discussions with constituents and worked closely with stakeholders to determine where improvements need to take place and how funds can be used more effectively.

I recently introduced legislation to fund meaningful investments in our state’s water infrastructure and environment. I introduced Senate Bill 565 to invest $2.5 billion to strengthen our commitment to clean water. This legislation invests in actionable items and uses funding already appropriated by the federal government instead of asking taxpayers for more.

Senate Bill 565 would provide $680 million for the creation of grant and loan programs to repair the most critical of Michigan’s dams — a move crucially important toward mitigating or avoiding costly catastrophes like what Midland experienced in 2020.

These grant and loan programs are a major investment in not only community safety, but the safety and reliability of the state’s dams. Maintenance is always cheaper than the reconstruction of a dam.

This legislation also includes $600 million for the replacement of lead pipes across the state, $700 million to upgrade local drinking water and wastewater facilities and $85 million to ensure students have access to safe water by installing filtered water stations inside schools. The plan also addresses the harmful impacts of PFAS chemicals and would dedicate $100 million in grants to remove the chemicals from “orphaned” sites.

The plan would also repurpose $290 million in bonds to assist communities with upgrading and replacing water treatment infrastructure, along with establishing a revolving loan program for homeowners to replace failing septic systems. Also included is an additional $25 million to conduct surface water monitoring, including $10 million for wetland mitigation, and $20 million to implement recommendations included in the Groundwater Use Advisory Council Report.

I believe we should actively protect the water in our lakes and rivers, as well as the drinking water entering the pipes of our homes. Clean drinking water and taking care of our natural resources aren’t partisan issues.  This one-time federal funding will be a great asset as we work toward a cleaner, safer Michigan.

As a state senator, I will continue to be a strong advocate for protecting the Great Lakes, inland lakes and streams, and all our other vast natural resources for current residents and for future generations. If you ever have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office by phone at (866) 305-2134 or by email at