Statement: Statewide moratorium on water shut-offs

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order Saturday requiring water reconnections to homes that have been disconnected due to nonpayment or damaged infrastructure and allocating $2 million in state grants to local utilities to cover associated costs. Conan Smith, president and CEO of Michigan Environmental Council, issued the following statement on the order.

“Gov. Whitmer’s executive order was a critical response to an issue affecting Michiganders across the state during and beyond the COVID-19 emergency. We thank the administration for creating a policy that will keep people healthy in a time of crisis. An executive order of this magnitude should not have been necessary. Access to clean drinking water is essential to life, and our communities and utilities need to adopt permanent protections for the poor and vulnerable. With our frontline allies continually pushing for water justice, the need and call for better policy is clear. Let’s hope that the public officials who control access to water for more than half the state’s population take a clear lesson from Gov. Whitmer’s declaration and rethink how, why and if ever one of our neighbors should be shut off from water.”