Thinking for Ourselves
By Shea Howell
October 4, 2015
Governor Snyder has finally acknowledged that people in the city of Flint are suffering from poisoned water. He is also reported to be considering the only sensible response to this crisis, reconnecting to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. All of this is too little, too late. Children have lead in their blood, creating health problems that will never leave them. Parents, elders, animals, gardens, public buildings, and places of work and play have all absorbed lead and other chemical poisons in the foolish drive to create an independent water system, supposedly to “save money.”
All of this happened directly under Governor Snyder’s control. Evidence is mounting that Snyder has known all along that his decision to abandon Detroit water was fraught with problems. More than a month ago Governor Snyder secretly delivered 1,500 water filters to Flint. He not only distributed these filters through churches, but he demanded that the pastors involved not speak about it. Reverend Allen Overton said that pastors accepted the condition to not discuss the state’s role in order to get the filters designed to remove trihalomethanes and lead from water. The filters were given away in under 3 hours.
So Governor Snyder knew there was a public health problem and he insisted that it be kept quiet.
Further his Department of Environmental Quality intentionally falsified reports, altered standards, changed documents and attempted to discredit critics, scientists and citizens who argued that Flint water was unsafe. Most of these actions by the MDEQ appear to be an attempt to cover up the simple fact that the Department failed to fulfill its primary responsibility to the citizens, requiring Flint to have a program to control levels of lead in Drinking water.
A recent report on this shameful history concludes:
“MDEQ never required Flint to have a corrosion control program, nor did it set water quality parameters for the new Flint River source water. While MDEQ asserts that they are acting proactively to get a corrosion control program in Flint, there is no provision in the LCR that allows for corrosion control to ever be interrupted.
As a direct result of this mistake, Flint residents have been completely unprotected from elevated lead in water from the moment the switch to Flint River water was made. This has created a conflict of interest for MDEQ ever since. Specifically, MDEQ’s failure to require a corrosion control program is what created the Flint water crisis in the first place–they now have a vested interest in covering up the problem.”
All of this transpired under the watch of Flint Emergency Managers. Routine public oversight, the primary safeguard against corruption, incompetence and indifference, was set aside.
Governor Snyder and his appointees should face criminal charges for their neglect of their basic responsibility to protect the people of this state and our natural resources. We prosecute politicians for taking bribes, how can we not prosecute them for taking lives, health and trust?