Facing A Lead Contamination Crisis, Michigan Governor Whitmer Proposes Aid But Not Safe Drinking Water to Benton Harbor Residents

Benton Harbor, MI – Facing a lead-contaminated drinking water crisis, today Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed to seek “every federal, state and local resource available” to raise $20 million to replace Benton Harbor’s lead water pipes, repair the city’s water infrastructure, and provide drinking water filters for families. For at least three years, Benton Harbor’s drinking water has significantly exceeded state and federal standards for lead. Residents of the majority black community continue to call for emergency bottled water or another source of safe drinking water, which have not yet been made available, until the lead water pipes are removed.

The following is a reaction by Reverend Edward Pinkney, president, Benton Harbor Community Water Council: 

“I’m very grateful Governor Whitmer pledged to help the people of Benton Harbor, but we’re parched from years of waiting for safe water.

“For at least three years, the people of Benton Harbor have been living with lead-contaminated drinking water, which is why we urgently need safe water right now. Today. That’s why tomorrow, community members from Benton Harbor, together with allied organizations, will ask the federal government to provide an emergency supply of safe drinking water. We cannot wait one day more to seek help for our elders and our kids, who are our future.”

Details about the press telebriefing to secure safe drinking water for Benton Harbor

Date & Time: Thursday, September 9 at 1pm ET

Where: Zoom Virtual Press Event: Email ksumter@nrdc.org to receive link


  • Reverend Edward Pickney, president of the Benton Harbor Community Water Council
  • Nick Leonard, executive director, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center
  • A Benton Harbor resident
  • Cyndi Roper, senior policy advocate with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Related Press Releases