Emergency Managers, Flint, Rick Snyder — December 7, 2016

43% of Flint homes tested still showing lead contamination, Snyder admin smacked down by federal judge

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We talked about this during this week’s podcast but I think it deserves a post all of it’s own.

Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards recently completed a new round of testing of the water entering the homes of Flint residents and found that 43% of them are still contaminated with lead:

Water in Flint continues to improve, researchers reported Friday after finding no detectable levels of lead in 57 percent of homes during another round of tests.

Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech, a scientist who revealed Flint’s alarming lead levels in 2015, said the public health crisis is nearing an end, although he firmly urged residents to continue to use filters on kitchen faucets — perhaps for as long as it takes to replace the old lines that bring water into homes.

“It’s very likely folks will never be told the water is safe as long as those lead pipes are there,” Edwards said during a news conference at Virginia Tech that was streamed online.

The devastating impact of this fact was given a face in these two Thanksgiving tweets by “Little Miss Flint”:

144 bottles of water to prepare one American Thanksgiving meal for an average Flint family. Let that sink in.

In other news, a federal judge overruled the Snyder administration’s effort to avoid having to deliver bottled water to impacted Flint residents this week:

On the same day that researchers said Flint’s water is improving with “amazing progress,” a federal judge delivered a legal blow to state officials in ordering them to deliver bottled water to Flint whether they like it or not.

In a 12-page ruling, U.S. District Judge David Lawson ruled that Flint’s water is still unsafe to drink for certain residents and that the state must deliver bottled water to those households without properly installed or maintained filters until the problem is cleared up. […]

The state defendants say “the current method of ‘delivery,’ whereby Flint residents must find a way to retrieve their own drinking water, and can use water filters that may or may not be installed and maintained correctly, is good enough,” Lawson wrote. That “is incorrect.”

Lawson denied the state’s request to stay the preliminary injunction, stressing: “Flint residents continue to suffer irreparable harm from a lack of reliable access to safe drinking water. This is more than a mere inconvenience; hunting for water has become a dominant activity in some residents’ lives, causing anxiety, stress and financial hardship.”

This tragedy is ongoing and seems to have fallen from the national radar. Today is Day 433 since Gov. Rick Snyder ADMITTED that Flint’s water had been poisoned by actions taken by his appointed Emergency Managers and it’s been far longer than that the lead contamination has actually been happening. And Gov. Snyder’s response appears to be avoiding doing the right thing instead of standing up and taking responsibility.

Keep this statistic in mind: Only 1% of the lead service lines of the 29,000 or so that are estimated to be present in Flint have been replaced. If Flint Mayor Karen Weaver meets her goal of replacing 1,000 by year’s end, it will still only be 3% of the total number that need to be replaced.

Please don’t let this go down the memory hole. Flint is counting on us all.

One more thing: With their success in stopping the North Dakota Access Pipeline, Standing Rock protesters are now coming to Flint:

The North Dakota pipeline battle may be over but veterans and community activists supporting the opposition of the project say their fight isn’t finished and the Flint water crisis is next on their list.

“We don’t know when we are going to be there but we will be heading to Flint,” said US Army veteran Wes Clark Jr. who helped organize veterans who joined the fight. “This problem is all over the county. It’s got to be more than veterans. People have been treated wrong in this county for a long time.”

We welcome them to Michigan with open arms.

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