U.S. Rep. Candice Miller is seeking $1 billion in emergency federal funding to replace Flint’s underground pipeline system because of the lead contamination crisis.
The Harrison Township Republican on Tuesday introduced the emergency supplemental bill titled the Drinking Water Contamination Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2016. It would make the money available through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to “replace pipes, pipe fittings, and other drinking water infrastructure that are not lead free.”
The House Administration Committee chairwoman’s proposal came on the same day that Flint Mayor Karen Weaver called for immediate action to remove lead pipes from the city’s water distribution system. At one point, Weaver said one estimate is it could cost up to $1.5 billion to repair the whole system.
“The State of Michigan has acknowledged culpability and is stepping up,” Miller said in a press release. “However, the federal government, through the EPA, also has some culpability, so it is entirely appropriate for the federal government to step up as well.
“The underground pipes have been so corroded they will, apparently, continue to pose a threat to the residents of Flint until they are replaced.”
Miller’s proposal is separate from a $600 million package proposed by Democratic U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing and Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township as well as U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee of Flint Township.
A University of Michigan-Flint team recently completed an initial mapping of the city’s pipeline system and estimated between 15,000 to 25,000 homes likely are connected to the city’s water system through lead pipes.