Monday, January 30, 2023

Play

Massachusetts could restrict police use of facial recognition technology, Wyoming mulls more health coverage for workers, and a report finds low salary contributes to social workers leaving the field.

Play

Civil rights activists push for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act following the killing of Tyre Nichols, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he can reach a deal with President Biden on the debt ceiling, and election experts say 2023 could shape voting rights across the country.

Play

"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

Report Urges Water-Affordability Strategy to Help Low-Income Michiganders

Play

Thursday, December 1, 2022   

Residential water rates in Michigan are soaring, with an estimated one out of ten households without access to or unable to afford clean water.

A coalition of activists and conservation groups is proposing that state officials adopt a water-affordability strategy that supports low-income Michiganders and does not harm residents who can afford their utilities.

An analysis released yesterday finds that high water rates force many families to live in unsafe conditions, putting elders and children at risk.

Mike Shriberg - executive director of the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center, one of the study's sponsors - said that with the right plan, the problem is solvable.

"We can make water affordable," said Shriberg. "And by affordable, what we mean is no more than 2% of household income going towards water without impacting the rates of others. Because right now, we have a system that doesn't make a lot of sense."

Other sponsors of the study include We The People of Detroit and Freshwater Future. The study examined the impact of water rates on low-income households in six Michigan communities.

It found some families paying 20% or more of their income for water.

The study proposes reducing disadvantaged homes' bills to the 2% threshold while utilizing cost-reduction strategies to reduce overall revenue requirements.

Shriberg said funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill could be used to implement the program and upgrade substandard water systems.

"We've got billions of dollars coming in at levels we haven't seen since the '60s and '70s," said Shriberg. "These dollars are desperately needed because our water infrastructure has suffered along with some of the more visible infrastructure suffering that we've seen. It may be less visible, but there's been just as much neglect."

The inflation-adjusted average cost of water across Michigan has increased by 188% since 1980 and up to 320% in individual cities.

Shriberg said that has to change.

"We believe that water is a fundamental human right," said Shriberg. "Access to clean water is a fundamental human right. And if that's so, then no Michigander should be denied that. That's something that you need to codify in the state law to make sure it happens. You can't just rely on the goodwill of a lot of utilities."

Disclosure: National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Facial-recognition technology companies, which originally partnered with law enforcement, are now working with schools and universities to increase safety and prevent shootings by denying campus access to people who have been banned, or to monitor activity inside school buildings. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Lawmakers in the Commonwealth are considering legislation to ensure police use of facial-recognition technology also protects people's privacy and civ…


Environment

Next week, Ohio farmers and their advocates head to Washington, D.C., to push for shifting federal programs toward growing nutritious food, as …

Social Issues

Social justice advocates have just launched a new public education campaign. It's called "Just Safe," and it's aimed at changing the conversation …


Since the beginning of 2022, seven Western states have initiated programs to maintain wildlife habitat and safe passage, through fencing, signs, overpasses and underpasses, according to Pew research. (TaborChichakly/Adobe Stock)

Environment

Reducing the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions is the goal of a bill before the New Mexico Legislature this session. Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-…

Social Issues

A Nevada nonprofit is celebrating a 94% graduation rate among its high school seniors for the 2021-2022 school year. Tami Hance-Lehr. CEO and state …

Super Bowl LVII will be held at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Feb. 12. (Katherine Welles/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Super Bowl LVII is right around the corner, which means Arizona will see hefty spending and wide exposure because of the massive sporting event…

Health and Wellness

It is not a pandemic yet, but eye doctors worry the constant use of digital devices could eventually result in long-term health problems for many …

Environment

Maine's small farmers are encouraged to complete the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture census to ensure they have a voice in federal decisions …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021