Poison Water in Flint, Michigan – Who is at fault?

 In Domestic

Poison Water in Flint, Michigan – Who is at fault?

 Answer- Pretty much all of the bureaucrats who ignored the problem for months.
CNN is reporting: “EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman has offered her resignation effective February 1, and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has accepted given Susan’s strong interest in ensuring that EPA Region 5’s focus remains solely on the restoration of Flint’s drinking water.”
Original Story:
When Flint, Michigan’s powers-that-be decided to change the water source of the town from Lake Huron to the Flint River, they also decided not to use corrosion control. That decision caused caused red water, taste and odor problems, pipe infrastructure damage, childhood lead poisoning and possibly even an outbreak of Legionnaires disease.
poison water

The tap water in Flint, Michigan

Silencing opposition
EPA Region 5 had one person who  attempted to cover up the problem: Susan Hedman, a political appointee. One of the employees of EPA 5 sent a memo to Flint’s Mayor, Dayne Walling, in July advising him that the MDEQ’s (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) decision not to use corrosion control was illegal and dangerous. Hedman apologized to the Mayor for the memo and effectively silenced the employee, Miguel Del Toral, for six months.
Ignored and belittled
Action finally started to take shape after LeeAnn Walters, a local mother, frantically called an outside agency.
During the call Ms. Walters detailed how smirking MDEQ employees, dismissed perfectly legitimate scientific concerns expressed by herself and Melissa Mays regarding dangers of high lead in the water to Flint’s children. The MDEQ employees also bragged about “handling” a heroic EPA employee (Miguel Del Toral), who put his career on the line to write a memo detailing Flint’s water lead problems and MDEQ’s illegal actions. We contributed our data on Ms. Walters hazardous waste levels of lead to Del Toral’s memo, and other insights, and we figured that with the memo appropriate state and federal resources would be mobilized. It turns out they were–but only to cover the memo up and to discredit Del Toral. Tragically, the memo would have to be “vetted” in the blood lead of Flint’s children, before its recommendations were taken seriously.
Heavy reporting and FOIA requests from The Guardian (UK) and other news outlets finally got some traction.
Eventually in December, two employees at MDEQ were fired. Tests have been conducted independently which raises the issue of skewed testing results at MDEQ. The obvious is a fact- children may have been developmentally stunted by their exposure to the high levels of lead in the drinking water.
Obama finally signed a declaration of disaster which opens the way for federal funds. When he was notified, Governor Rick Snyder vowed to “fix this.”

An employee flushes a fire hydrant in Flint

Culture of Corruption
The bare facts here are that a political appointee with the EPA was not just lax in her job, she actively tried to stand in the way of the safety of Flint residents. Other employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality skewed the immediate results of the water tests. In the attempt to cover their collective rear ends, they literally destroyed the water source for an entire town.
The result has been such a severe lack of trust in the government that many of the people in Flint do not trust anything the government does- even when they will be able to fix this debacle. Bottled water has been brought to the residents, and that may be the only answer in the near future until the government can fix the problem.

This is an American disaster.This is an American disaster — so why aren’t we talking about it more?

Posted by Mic on Monday, January 11, 2016

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