President Barack Obama said of the crisis, “What is inexplicable and inexcusable is once people figured out that there was a problem there, and that there was lead in the water, the notion that immediately families weren’t notified, things weren’t shut down. That shouldn’t happen anywhere.” Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-flint-water-crisis_us_56a03c39e4b0d8cc1098bf55
I agree also that it is “inexplicable and inexcusable” but those two words neither describe the problem nor offer some type of promise of a conclusion to the crisis. It is almost like a “man on the street” observation. Somewhat removed and quite impersonal.
According to the Huffington Post: ” Obama, during an interview in Detroit with CBS set to air later this week, said he understands why Flint residents are outraged. The city’s water supply has been contaminated with lead and other pollutants for months after a state-approved plan to save money by switching to corrosive Flint River water from the Detroit municipal system.”
Seems like an “easy peasy” problem, right? Some nakedly cheap and stingy bureaucrat (preferably of the Republican persuasion) wanted to save money and ended up poisoning a city with his/her parsimonious pursuit.
Another story is that it is “racial”. In other words some nakedly cheap, racist (white) and stingy bureaucrat (preferably of the Republican persuasion) wanted to save money and ended up poisoning a city with his/her parsimonious pursuit.
So……. send in the water bottles, stop being racist and giving all of the “clean water” to the white, rich “fat cats” and share the wealth that is obviously being held back from the “poor Blacks” .
In 2014, the impoverished city stopped buying water from Detroit but residents still needed a potable supply while awaiting the construction of a pipeline to Lake Huron. Sourcing water from the Flint River was seen as an affordable option but investigators now know that, after the switch, the highly corrosive river water leached lead from pipes into people’s homes.
Lower IQ. Learning problems. Slowed growth. Inability to pay attention. These are a few of the long-term effects that lead poisoning can have on children, according to the EPA and the CDC. Other effects include anemia and hyperactivity.
So how doe this get “racial”? Because “getting racial” is what we do in 2015. Exaggerating and conning people into believing that every crisis (which this is) contains a “racial component” is effective in getting to the news cycle. It does not necessarily SOLVE the problem, it just gets you in the news. The truth is that Flint is about 57 percent Black and 38 percent White, with other races garnering the rest of the percentage break-down.
Another reality for this city is that it is overwhelmingly “blue collar” or “no-collar” With a population of less than 15 % college educated adults, the median home value is just above 40K and with a per-capita income of less than 15K, about 42 percent of the population lives below poverty level. That being said, roughly about 41 percent of the businesses in Flint are “Black owned” and over 30 percent are female owned. That being said, it is one of the most economically disadvantaged cities in Michigan with a higher percentage of poor and minority people than Michigan as a whole.
In February 2015, just weeks after the University of Michigan-Flint reported elevated lead levels on campus, Flint resident Lee-Anne Walters brought the high lead levels in her household’s water to officials’ attention. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Michigan’s department of environmental quality (MDEQ) discussed Walters’ lead results in an email later that month.
With the subject line “HIGH LEAD: FLINT Water testing Results”, the EPA’s Jennifer Crooks wrote to local officials that she had been discussing Walters’ “water situation” for several weeks. Crooks was stunned by the results: 104 parts per billion of lead. The EPA’s regulatory limit is 15 parts per billion.
“WOW!!! Did he find the LEAD!” Crooks wrote, adding: “She has 2 children under the age of 3 … Big worries here.”
But state environmental officials felt it was an isolated case. Read more at: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/24/flint-michigan-water-crisis-lead-poisoning-families-children
It would not be until October 2015, when schools reported lead contamination levels as high as 101 parts per billion, that government officials conceded the situation in Flint was a “public safety issue”.
“Barack Obama announced $80m in aid for the people of Flint. “Our children should not have to be worried about the water that they’re drinking in American cities,” he said. “That’s not something that we should accept.”
But residents here fear the money will never reach them, and are angered that Obama chose not to visit the city during a trip to Detroit this week.”
Adding insult to injury: Michigan law states that parents are neglectful if they do not have running water in their home, and if they chose not to pay for water they can’t drink anyway, then they could be guilty of child endangerment.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/flint-residents-told-children-pay-citys-poison-water/#BbboCZ5PQhwSFHRv.99
Recent estimates have indicated that it could take up to 15 years and over $60 million to fix the problem, and the residents will be essentially forced to live there until the problem is solved. Despite the fact that the issue is obviously the government’s responsibility, they have made it illegal for people to sell their homes because of the fact that they are known to carry contaminated water.
This is indeed the definition of “a mess”. Although it is painted as something squarely in the Republican lap since the governor is Republican, the Flint water crisis should embarrass both political parties. Michigan governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, appointed the “emergency managers” who approved and implemented the city’s decision to use the Flint River as a water source. (The river’s corrosive properties caused dangerous amounts of lead from plumbing materials to leach into drinking water.) The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality—run by a Snyder appointee—failed badly in many ways as well in its obligations to protect the state’s residents.
But on the ground, where the problem originated……. the city of Flint, long run by Democrats, also deserves blame; it was Flint’s municipal government that failed to properly treat the new water and to properly conduct the tests that would have immediately found problems with it. The EPA, which is ultimately under President Obama’s supervision, has been rightfully criticized for its reaction to the crisis as well.
So there you have it, a major crisis which is in many ways far more egregious than Katrina because of its implications for OTHER cities…. were not even discussed in either debate, without pointing fingers at “the other party”. And the people continue to be poisoned.
Our crumbling and ancient infrastructure is the issue and at the bottom line, we can not exist as human beings without the “blue gold” known as “water”. A 2009 study identified 10 major cities with “problem water” , they are: Jacksonville, Fla.; San Diego (San Diego Water Department); North Las Vegas (City of North Las Vegas Utilities Department); Omaha (Metropolitan Utilities District); Houston (City of Houston Public Works); Reno (Truckee Meadows Water Authority); Riverside County, Calif. (Eastern Municipal Water District); Las Vegas (Las Vegas Valley Water District); Riverside, Calif. (City of Riverside Public Utilities); Pensacola, Fla. (Emerald Coast Water Utility).
BTW, Pensacola is Florida’s westernmost major city. Analysts say it has the worst water quality in the country. So it is not isolated that the water supplies in the United States are having a bit of problems. And I am going to add that the lead problem is NOT isolated to Flint, Michigan….. While Flint struggles to recover, as many as 20% of kids under 6 years old tested in parts of Detroit — and between 7% and 12% in parts of Saginaw, Ludington, Lansing, Highland Park, Grand Rapids, Hamtramck and a handful of other cities in the state — had elevated levels of lead in their blood as recently as 2013, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Read more at: https://www.yahoo.com/health/lead-poisoning-other-parts-michigan-222900551.html
So why is it important to bring up? You know we need to talk about ISIS, terrorism, immigration and get elected! BUT, the LEADER will emerge as he/she shows understanding that our very existence is at stake at home as well as abroad.