Santana Opposes Regional Takeover of Detroit's Water System

Lawmaker: Unconstitutional plan will strip Detroit of its power and authority
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

LANSING – State Representative Harvey Santana (D-Detroit) today called for state lawmakers to oppose a recently introduced plan to create a regional authority to oversee operations of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD).

“House Bill 4112 would effectively strip the city of Detroit of its authority over the Detroit Water and Sewage Department,” Santana said. “I want everyone to be very clear that I am 100 percent against any takeover of our water system. The water system dates back to 1827. Detroit has supplied affordable and clean water to 127 communities throughout Southeast Michigan over the span of 183 years.”

Republican State Representative Kurt Heise of Plymouth has introduced a plan today in the Michigan House of Representatives to create a regional authority to take over the DWSD. While the city would be included in the new regional authority, representatives from the suburbs would have majority control of management of the system.

A previous ruling by U.S. District Judge John Feikens stated that the idea behind the plan is unconstitutional, as the Michigan Constitution protects Detroit’s right to operate DWSD both within and outside city limits. Former Govs. John Engler and Jennifer M. Granholm both vetoed similar proposals during their administration. The Detroit City Council also opposes the plan.

“As a Detroiter and State Representative of the 10th District, my intention is to bring the full spectrum of abilities to fight against this act of hostility,” Santana said. “They may have moved out of the city of Detroit but they can’t take the water with them.”