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Articles by Midwest fellow Jena Brooker

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After years of residents in Benton Harbor, Michigan knowingly drinking lead-contaminated water, officials are finally doing something about it. 

Following a petition filed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in September by 20 environmental and advocacy groups, state and city officials have announced a series of actions to address Benton Harbor’s drinking water crisis. 

First, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer appropriated $10 million in the state’s 2022 budget for replacing Benton Harbor’s lead drinking water pipelines. She then issued an executive directive that included mandating free access to bottled water, lead water testing, and health services for Benton Harbor residents. Whitmer also moved up the timeline to replace all the lead pipes in the city within the next 18 months, compared to a previous five-year goal, and asked legislators for an additional $11.4 million to do so. On Tuesday, she made an unannounced visit to Benton Harbor to meet with residents and community leaders to discuss solutions. 

Also this week, Benton Harbor city commissioners declared a state of emergency, giving Mayor Marcus Muhammad authorizat... Read more

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