WASHINGTON, D.C. – A $500 million provision secured by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to help communities address the impacts of natural disasters has been signed into law as a part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Peters secured the first funding for the loan program he created to help states establish revolving loan funds for local governments to carry out mitigation projects that reduce natural disaster risk. These projects could include upgrades to address 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.
“Communities across Michigan are struggling with damage caused by increasingly severe storms, flooding and shoreline erosion, and we know these problems will only get worse with continuing climate change,” said Senator Peters. “This funding will kick start my STORM Act loan program and give states and communities access to new opportunities to invest in major infrastructure upgrades from seawalls to stormwater drains that will protect residents, homes and small businesses from these disasters.”
Severe storms, extreme flooding, rising water levels and high winds – along with other factors driven by climate change – are contributing to destructive natural disasters. Communities in Michigan and across the country are facing serious flooding, coastal erosion and high water level challenges that have destroyed homes and beaches and have even forced residents to relocate. Southeast Michigan faced severe flooding this summer that tragically led to two deaths, damaged small businesses and thousands of homes, and devastated families. The funding Peters secured for the loan program established by his STORM Act allows local governments to access critical funds to help mitigate the impact of natural disasters in a more cost-effective way. Studies have shown that resilience and mitigation spending saves taxpayers an average of $6 for every $1 invested.
Unlike existing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants, these low-interest loans would allow local governments to invest in resiliency and mitigation projects that reduce the effects of extreme flooding, shoreline erosion and rising and high water levels, along with other natural disasters. These loans would reach communities more quickly than FEMA’s traditional grants, and provide local communities with the capital necessary to invest in more resilient infrastructure.
Below are statements from Michigan leaders in support of Peters’ efforts to secure this vital 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 are grateful that this funding has been approved 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. I’m grateful this provision has been signed into law through the bipartisan infrastructure bill 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 aid 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 continue working with Senator Peters to improve our state’s resilience to rising water levels and other natural disasters that continue to threaten communities.”
“Communities in Bay County continue to see firsthand how severe flooding can cause unprecedented damage to our businesses and homes. We need more help from the federal government to tackle this urgent threat that will only worsen due to climate change,” said Bay County Executive Jim Barcia. “We are grateful to Senator Peters for taking concrete action to aid our efforts to mitigate the effects of these natural disasters. Now that this important loan program will be funded, Bay County will have more opportunity to invest in projects that will improve our stormwater drainage systems without charging residents to do so.”
“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. “I’m pleased this legislation has been signed into law 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.”
“The loan funds created by Senator Peters’ STORM Act will be critical to helping protect Marquette’s beautiful coastlines along Lake Superior and our residents from horrible natural disasters,” said Marquette Mayor Jenna Smith. “Our city is grateful to Senator Peters for his efforts to provide communities here in the Upper Peninsula and across Michigan with the resources to build our infrastructure to withstand flooding and coastal erosion so we can safeguard families and businesses, and save money in the long run by making these early investments.”
“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.”
“As Houghton City and our residents continue to face severe flooding that damages homes and businesses – efforts like Senator Peters’ to get us the resources we need to protect against natural disasters are more important than ever,” said Houghton City Manager Eric Waara. “These new loan programs will be greatly beneficial to communities like ours who need help to upgrade our infrastructure so it is more resilient. We are grateful to Senator Peters for his work and look forward to working with him to ensure our community is more prepared when disaster strikes.”
“Residents of Midland continue experiencing frequent and severe flooding that only seems to grow worse with every significant storm. As a community located at the bottom of a vast watershed – we need and appreciate all help from the federal government to work with our upstream and downstream communities to build our infrastructure so it is resilient to the threat of natural disasters,” said Midland City Manager C. Bradley Kaye. “I’m grateful to Senator Peters for securing funding for the STORM Act loan program he created. His actions will go a long way towards helping to address the challenges we face and protecting our community for decades to come.”
“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 are glad to see this legislation signed into law and look forward to the benefits it will have for communities across Michigan.
“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 are 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, Chief Policy Officer 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 essential program will 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.”