Michigan Leaders and Organizations Applaud Peters for Securing $500 Million to Help Address Shoreline Erosion and Flooding in Senate-Passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

DETROIT, MI – Michigan elected officials and stakeholders are applauding U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, for securing $500 million in funding for communities to help mitigate the impact of natural disasters in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate last week. The bipartisan bill is awaiting consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives. The funding would be used to help states establish revolving loan programs for local governments to carry out mitigation projects that reduce natural disaster risk, including extreme flooding, shoreline erosion and rising water levels that have put homes, small businesses, property, and communities at risk, and caused millions of dollars in damages. Peters authored the Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM) Act, which was signed into law earlier this year, to create this new loan program.

“Extreme flooding, rising water levels and coastline erosion are destroying lives and livelihoods on the Great Lakes and across Michigan. That is why I was proud to help create a low-cost loan program to help counties and cities save taxpayer dollars, safeguard local homes and small business owners’ properties, and protect our state’s beautiful coastlines,” said Senator Peters. “Funding for this important program will kick-start these loan funds and help communities in Michigan and across the nation access the resources they need to build resiliently and mitigate the effects of natural disasters that continue to worsen due to climate change.”

Below are statements from Michigan elected officials and stakeholders supporting Peters for securing this critical funding:

“Thanks to Senator Peters’ tireless advocacy for Michiganders, the infrastructure package includes $500 million over the next five years to help our communities continue upgrading our water infrastructure and protecting families and communities from shoreline erosion, flooding, and extreme weather events,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I am grateful for all the productive, bipartisan progress being made on infrastructure, and I look forward to utilizing the billions of dollars headed our way under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to fix the damn roads, build up our water infrastructure, and create thousands of good-paying jobs.”

“The STORM Act is an important new tool to help Great Lakes cities build resilience to flooding, erosion and other impacts along our shorelines. Climate change is generating more frequent severe storms, leading to the unprecedented flooding we’ve experienced recently in Detroit,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, speaking on behalf of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. “Helping Great Lakes cities protect residents and resources along their shorelines is a top priority for our organization and we appreciate Senator Peters’ leadership in sponsoring the STORM Act and urge Congress to approve funding for it under the bipartisan infrastructure package.” 

“Folks all across Macomb County have witnessed firsthand how record high water levels and flooding have damaged homes, businesses, and livelihoods. It is essential that local governments have access to more federal resources to help communities fight back against these natural disasters – and the new loan programs created by Senator Peters will help to do just that,” said Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller. “I’m grateful to Senator Peters for securing funding for this important program, which will help localities all across Michigan prepare for any future damage due to rising water levels. Now that the Senate has passed this important provision through the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I will continue to urge my former colleagues in the House to do the same so we can allow local communities in Michigan to help protect the lives and livelihoods of our residents.”

“Wayne County residents and businesses have experienced devastating flooding over the past few months as a result of extreme rainfalls and aging infrastructure. Senator Peters’ STORM Act recognizes the urgent need for the federal government to aide and protect our local communities against such tragic events,” said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans. “I’m grateful to Senator Peters for his effort to secure important funding which will help to create new revolving loan funds that our county can invest in improving stormwater drainage systems and other projects that will safeguard our residents from future flooding. I look forward to seeing this important provision signed into law soon and continuing to work with Senator Peters to improve our state’s resilience to rising water levels and other natural disasters that continue to threaten communities.”

“Gary Peters’ STORM ACT will provide a valuable asset to city’s like Traverse City to help mitigate the harmful effects of climate change,” said Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers. “This loan fund will help promote projects to address flooding, shoreline erosion, and severe storm damage that many shoreline communities are facing. Thank you Senator Peters for your leadership and support for communities like Traverse City.”

“The people of Ann Arbor and I applaud and thank Senator Peters for securing funding for this vital program that will help cities protect residents from flooding and rising water levels that continue to threaten lives and livelihoods,” said Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor. “Now that the Senate has passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes this critical funding, I look forward to House action that will send it to the President for signature so that communities throughout Michigan can make improvements to stormwater drainage systems; begin building seawalls, barriers, and breakers; and invest in other vital public works projects that will help mitigate the effects of shoreline erosion and other natural disasters.”

“As rising water levels and coastline erosion continue to wreak havoc on the lives of residents across Michigan and in Muskegon, it’s more important than ever for local communities like ours to build resiliency,” said Muskegon Mayor Stephen Gawron. “I want to thank Senator Peters for his tireless work to secure this important funding and look forward to being able to access these new low cost loans so Muskegon can better protect our residents from natural disasters.”

“Residents of Benton Harbor continue to face rising water levels and coastline erosion, which have devastating effects on our community. It’s clear that more federal resources are needed for local governments to be able to mitigate the effects of these natural disasters,” said Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad. “I want to thank Senator Peters for not only creating a low cost loan program to help do this, but also secure the funding needed to ensure Michigan communities can access these federal resources to safeguard residents.”

“We are grateful to Senator Peters and his team for securing funding for loan programs created by his bipartisan STORM Act. Local communities desperately need funds to update our 70 year old water infrastructure,” said Oak Park Mayor Marian McClellan. “The funds secured by Senator Peters are not available in cash-strapped local budgets and mean we don’t have to burden our residents with higher fees. As Mayor of Oak Park, I’d like to express our gratitude to the Senator for getting federal help to allow our city to combat natural disasters.”

“I want to thank Senator Peters on behalf of the residents of Brownstown who have faced flooding from the increased levels of Lake Erie,” said Charter Township of Brownstown Supervisor Andrew Linko. “We are aware that there are many Michigan and Ohio communities, whose citizens were impacted by these flooding events, and while we need to recognize the impact of climate change, Senator Peters recognized the immediate needs of these communities with the STORM Act.”   

“Michigan’s municipalities are at the heart of responding to disaster events and directly responsible for remediation required afterwards,” said Dan Gilmartin, Executive Director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League. “The League applauds Senator Peters for his efforts to acknowledge the gap in funding available for local communities to address climate shifts, and the damage from flooding, high water inundation and coastal erosion that emerge as a result. The STORM Act will better equip communities with the tools and strategies to support long-term, intentional resiliency and further limit the impact of disasters in the future. “

“Kudos to Senator Peters for securing funding for the STORM Act, a program that we supported creating. This funding will help launch a much needed funding mechanism to help communities plan, prepare and implement actions to reduce disaster risk,” Madhu Anderson, Director of Government Relations, the Nature Conservancy in Michigan. “At the Nature Conservancy, we believe that nature is a smart solution to help mitigate against flooding, coastal erosion, wildfire and much more.”

“The Great Lakes continue to experience rising water levels and shoreline erosion that threatens not only families and businesses, but also wildlife habitat and green spaces across our state,” said Mike Shriberg, Ph.D, Great Lakes Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation. “Our organization is immensely grateful for this funding that Senator Peters has secured for the STORM Act through the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The loan program he helped create will not only help communities restore severe weather damages after-the-fact, it will allow communities to take necessary precautions – including through nature-based infrastructure – to prevent the catastrophic levels of destruction we have seen, particularly after the recent flooding in Southeast Michigan. We hope to see this legislation signed into law as soon as possible, so this funding can begin to make a difference.”

“People from around the state of Michigan have felt the devastating impacts of extreme weather and catastrophic flooding this year,” said Bentley Johnson, Federal Government Affairs Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “Climate change is fueling more intense and more frequent rainfall, damaging our homes, overwhelming outdated water infrastructure, and disrupting our lives. Some folks are recovering from flooded basements many times over just this summer and are bracing for the next downpour. Here in Michigan, we can’t afford a business-as-usual approach, which is why the STORM Act provisions led by Senator Peters is so crucial for our communities to prepare for the impacts that scientists say will only worsen over time. The funding mechanisms will help upgrade our storm water drainage systems, mitigate shoreline and soil erosion, and protect the most vulnerable communities. We applaud Senator Peters for finding ways to mitigate the growing threats to our lives, health, natural resources, and property.”

“Water has always been a source of pride in Michigan, but due to climate change, it is devastating our homes, our finances and our lives with frequent, intense floods and eroding Great Lakes shorelines,” said Charlotte Jameson, program director of legislative affairs, drinking water and energy for the Michigan Environmental Council. “Senator Peters’ STORM Act will help local communities’ not only better brace themselves for a changing climate but become resilient in it. It will give much-needed infrastructure funds quickly and justly to those who need it most.”

“Michigan Clean Water Action is extremely thankful to Senator Peters for his continued efforts to protect Michiganders from flooding, rising water levels and coastal erosion, including by creating a low-cost loan program to help local communities fund projects to help mitigate the impacts of these disasters,” said Mary Brady-Enerson, Michigan Director at Clean Water Action. “Funding for this will be essential program to help protect lives and livelihoods all across Michigan.”

“We thank Senator Peters for not only working to have this legislation signed into law, but for also securing $500 million to make the program operational,” said William M. Wolfson, Chief Administrative Officer of the Great Lakes Water Authority. “It will provide another dedicated stream to address aging water infrastructure in southeast Michigan, which is a significant factor that has exacerbated recent weather events.  The program will enable communities to secure funding to support critical improvements to stormwater systems and other related projects.”  

“I’d like to thank Senator Peters for working to provide additional funding mechanisms for communities to address shoreline erosion, or storm drainage improvement. Funding for the restoration of natural spaces is critical for mitigating the effects of climate change,” said Dan Moilanen, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts. “The best solution for shoreline erosion is to restore beaches to their natural state. Restoring native beach grasses and wetlands is one of the cheapest, and most effective tools in our toolbox. Nature is a form of infrastructure that plays a critical role in human life and prosperity, and we cannot overlook its importance.”