Nearly a year after evidence surfaced that there was a very serious, odorless, and invisible poisonous menace lurking in the water of Flint, Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder has finally declared a state of emergency in the devastated city:
Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency for Flint and Genesee County Tuesday as a result of the contaminated drinking water crisis, on the same day the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed it is investigating the contamination of Flint’s drinking water supply.
Snyder’s office issued a news release late Tuesday saying the governor made the declaration “due to the ongoing health and safety issues caused by lead in the city of Flint’s drinking water.” and activated the state Emergency Operations Center. […]
“By declaring a state of emergency, Snyder has made available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery operations,” the news release said. The declaration authorizes the emergency management and homeland security division of the Michigan State Police to coordinate state efforts.
“The health and welfare of Flint residents is a top priority and we’re committed to a coordinated approach with resources from state agencies to address all aspects of this situation,” Snyder said in the release. “Working in full partnership with the Flint Water Advisory Task Force, all levels of government and water quality experts, we will find both short-term and long-term solutions to ensure the health and safety of Flint residents.”
The emergency declaration also sets the stage for possible federal aid. Under the law, the governor can ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to conduct a damage assessment that would be used as a basis for determining eligibility for federal aid.
“If state and local resources are unable to cope with the emergency, the Governor may request federal assistance,” Snyder spokesman Dave Murray said. “We will continue to look for all avenues for potential assistance for Flint as part of our collaborative efforts to protect the health and welfare of children and all residents.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is investigating the citywide poisoning resulting from negligence, mismanagement, and potentially criminal actions by people reporting to Gov. Snyder.
Negligence. Mismanagement. Criminal action.
Hmmm… Forgive me if I am not remembering this correctly but aren’t those the exact same excuses Republicans used to impose Emergency Managers on so many cities and school districts in the first place? Emergency Managers, as I have said repeatedly over the past four years that I’ve been beating this drum to draw attention to it, don’t solve systemic problems that have lead to our cities and schools ending up in financial crisis. Armed only with tools of destruction and none of construction, Emergency Managers have attempted to cut their way to success. What is needed now, more than ever, is reconstruction, something we should all pray will come from this new development.
This is like a Michael Crighton sci-fi horror novel except that it’s not fiction and real, very vulnerable people are the victims. Let’s hope the U.S. Attorney’s Office gets to the bottom of this and ensures that the responsible parties are forced to pay the price for the horror they’ve inflicted on the innocent citizens of our state.
[Snyder photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]