Susan J. Demas
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed an executive directive aimed at coordinating her administration’s efforts on safe drinking water for Benton Harbor.
Whitmer said the state is committed to expediting lead service line replacements using additional
“Every Michigander deserves safe drinking water, and every community deserves lead-free pipes,” said Whitmer. “I’m proud to sign an Executive Directive today that will pursue a whole-of-government approach to protect access to safe drinking water right now and work tirelessly to replace every lead service line in Benton Harbor as soon as possible. I cannot imagine the stress that moms and dads in Benton Harbor are under as they emerge from a pandemic, work hard to put food on the table, pay the bills, and face a threat to the health of their children.”
There is no safe level of lead. Lead exposure harms brain development in children and it causes both short and long-term health problems for adults. The leading causes of lead exposure are drinking water and paint.
- Residents of Benton Harbor must continue to have access to free bottled water until further notice.
- Residents must be offered free or low-cost lead-related services including but not limited to drinking water testing and health services.
- The State of Michigan will collaborate closely with federal partners, county officials, city officials, and community leaders to communicate up-to-date information and leverage every available resource to accelerate lead service line replacement.
“Today’s executive directive is the result of close collaboration between the City of Benton Harbor and the Whitmer-Gilchrist Administrati
The state submitted a request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, to confirm authorization of WIC ready-to-feed formula. This will allow eligible WIC clients in the city of Benton Harbor currently receiving powder or liquid concentrate formula manufactured in ready-to-feed form access to formula that does not require mixing with water. Ready-to-feed formulas would be redeemed like current formula benefits, using the WIC EBT card at authorized WIC vendors.
A notification was submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to expand use of Medicaid Child Health Insurance Program Health Services Initiative funds for lead prevention services for Benton Harbor households. Once the notification process is complete, households with children under 19 years of age enrolled in a Medicaid Health Plan, or a pregnant person enrolled in a Medicaid Health Plan, would be eligible for a free environmental investigation into lead hazards within the home, and to provide the necessary lead abatement work to ensure the home is lead-safe.
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist Benton Harbor on Thursday.
“Residents of Benton Harbor deserve access to clean, safe drinking water, and today’s executive directive mobilizes the resources of government to achieve that goal,” he said.
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