Tag: lead

This Is What A Real Scandal Looks Like

Now that I’ve vented regarding all the trivial and petty Hillary Clinton scandals, let’s talk about something that matters.

If you could only be angry about one thing in America today, the poisoning of Flint, Michigan should be it:

In 2014, the city of Flint, under the control of an “emergency manager” appointed by the governor, was looking for ways to save money. To that end, the Snyder administration approved a plan in which the city would switch its water source: instead of getting water from Detroit, Flint would cut costs by drawing water directly from the Flint River.

In theory, there’s nothing particularly wrong with getting drinking and bathing water from a nearby river; plenty of communities across the country already do that. But in order to make Flint River water safe for people, it has to receive a special anti-corrosion treatment. Failing to treat the water sends corrosive river water through local pipes, it starts to eat through plumbing, and the result is lead poisoning.

The Snyder administration did not take the necessary precautions. What’s more, as the community grew concerned about its water, administration officials initially told local residents not to worry and to keep drinking the water.

The result, of course, is a public health crisis in which countless city residents, including many children, have been poisoned, which leads to severe and long lasting  consequences. Snyder last week declared an official emergency – he also issued an apology of sorts on New Year’s Eve – but the people of Flint still don’t have safe, clean water.

There’s also the political crisis as a result of this man-made disaster. The EPA warned Snyder administration officials about rising lead levels, but the governor did not alert the public and state officials delayed action to address the problem.

The Republican governor is now facing calls for his resignation and #ArrestGovSnyder protests. Local residents are also moving forward with a class-action lawsuit over the crisis, and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Michigan has confirmed it is investigating the matter to determine if any laws were broken.

The Detroit Free Press reported late yesterday that Michigan State Police troopers and other state officials “will start a door-to-door sweep of Flint on Tuesday to hand out bottled water and water filters, and the White House says it is monitoring the situation ‘very closely.’”
Flint has (of course) been a Category 5 economic shitstorm for about 30 years now. (Remember when a thin and youthful Michael Moore went searching in vain for some guy named Roger?) This is a scandal with very long roots, and it is not even entirely Rick Snyder’s fault; Flint was abandoned by GM, the government, and eventually by many of its residents. Snyder is just the latest fat cat to take a piss on Flint.