Rep Pauline Wendzel
Rep. Wendzel: Committee hearing will start process of finding answers for Benton Harbor residents
RELEASE|October 20, 2021

Rep. Pauline Wendzel said a Thursday hearing of the Michigan House Oversight Committee is an important initial step toward finding answers for the people of Benton Harbor about problems with their water system.

The committee hearing is expected to include Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy officials, Benton Harbor officials, and community representatives.

“I am hopeful this committee hearing will provide the people of Benton Harbor a voice as they seek answers about what is going on with their water system,” Wendzel said. “I have questions too, and this is a step in the process of providing much-needed oversight and accountability. In the meantime, I will continue fighting for the resources needed to accelerate and complete the replacement of lead service lines in the Benton Harbor water system.”

Last month, Wendzel helped deliver $10 million toward the effort. Wendzel today said she expects more resources will be allocated when the Legislature approves supplemental budget measures in the coming weeks.

“The $10 million approved by the Legislature in September is a downpayment to jumpstart this effort – I’m confident more resources will be secured soon,” Wendzel said. “Fully replacing the lead service lines is an essential step in restoring confidence in the Benton Harbor water system. We’ve got to finish the job as quickly as possible.”

In addition to the $10 million authorized by the Legislature last month, money from the MI Clean Water plan and federal resources also have assisted service line replacement in the Benton Harbor water system. Also, the Legislature last month approved $15 million for drinking water emergency assistance statewide – a portion of  which is currently supplying bottled water to Benton Harbor residents.

Thursday’s committee hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in Room 326 of the House Office Building in downtown Lansing. Streaming video of Thursday’s committee hearing can be seen here.

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