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Petition signed to provide Benton Harbor with clean water and power to residents


Local and national groups have filed a formal petition for the federal Environmental Protection Agency to step in and provide clean water and power to residents in Benton Harbor.

Six separate rounds of testing since 2018 have shown elevated levels of lead in Benton Harbor’s drinking water.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration announced a plan this week to replace all lead water pipes in the city within five years.

But some residents and environmental groups say that’s not fast enough.

Stacey Branscumb is one Flint resident who says the water has affected his pets.

“There’s still a lot of people that’s unaware how much lead is in the water, and what effects it could have on you.” Branscumb said.

Brunscumb and a coalition of environmental groups want the U.S. EPA to step in and immediately provide bottled water to residents

The local health department has been offering free filters to residents since then.

But Reverend Edward Pinkney says some people don’t know how to install the filters.

“They failed to even help them put them on the faucet. We have went to numerous homes and found that the water filter was sitting on their sink.” Pinkney said.

Pinkney represents one local group that’s joined a coalition to petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to step in immediately to provide bottled water.

Dustin Dwyer is a reporter for a new project at Michigan Radio that will look at improving economic opportunities for low-income children. Previously, he worked as an online journalist for Changing Gears, as a freelance reporter and as Michigan Radio's West Michigan Reporter. Before he joined Michigan Radio, Dustin interned at NPR's Talk of the Nation, wrote freelance stories for The Jackson Citizen-Patriot and completed a Reporting & Writing Fellowship at the Poynter Institute.