In her closing remarks during last night’s Democratic candidates’ presidential debate, Hillary Clinton brought up the poisoning of Flint’s drinking water, saying she’s “outraged”, that “every single American should be outraged,” and that Gov. Rick Snyder “acted as though he didn’t really care.”
Here are her remarks in full:
I spent a lot of time last week being outraged by what’s happening in Flint, Michigan, and I think every single American should be outraged. We’ve had a city in the United States of America where the population, which is poor in many ways and majority African-American, has been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water. And the governor of that state acted as though he didn’t really care.
He had requests for help, and he had basically stonewalled. I’ll tell you what, if the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it, there would’ve been action.
So, I sent my top campaign aide down there to talk to the mayor of Flint, to see what I could to help and I issued a statement about what we needed to do and then I went on a T.V. show and I said it was outrageous that the governor hadn’t acted. And within two hours, he had.
Here’s the video:
Meanwhile, Gov. Snyder and his supporters are spending their time trying to deflect blame. Republican political consultant and PR specialist, John Truscott, the former communications director and press secretary under Republican Gov. John Engler, took a few minutes from his Colorado ski trip to suggest on Facebook that this has gotten blown out of proportion because “only a very small number of kids have elevated lead levels” and that’s no big deal because, “there are probably tens of thousands of kids across the country with elevated levels” (linking former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley’s laughable op-ed in The Detroit News in which he absolves himself of any responsibility for the poisoning of Flint’s water):
The problem with this, of course, is that blood lead levels only reveal recent exposure since the lead is rapidly absorbed by bones:
It is impossible to accurately measure total body lead burden. For instance, measurement of blood lead concentration primarily reflects recent/current lead exposure. X-ray fluorescent imaging provides a semiquantitative tool for measurement of lead content in individual bones. In addition, measurement of urinary lead excretion after EDTA administration provides a rough estimation of lead burden.
In other words, the extent of this problem is likely much worse than current blood testing results show because lead entered the drinking water of many Flint homes last summer.
Truscott also seems to believe the problem with the Snyder administration’s response has been that they didn’t handle the media better:
Gov. Snyder himself wants everyone to quit worrying about who is to blame for this human-made crisis:
Political statements and finger pointing from political candidates only distract from solving the Flint water crisis.
— Governor Rick Snyder (@onetoughnerd) January 18, 2016
The fact is his administration is fully responsible for this catastrophe. You can’t put a single person in charge of an entire city and then take credit only for anything positive that happens while shirking responsibility when things go horribly, horribly wrong.
It’s worth noting that the reason the Obama administration is only providing $5 million in aid to Flint is because federal regulations prohibit this from being declared a “disaster”. Human-caused problems are not classified as disasters but as “emergencies” which limits the federal government’s options:
President Obama has declared a state of emergency in response to the water crisis in Flint, Mich., where thousands of residents have been exposed to toxic amounts of lead.
The president’s action on Saturday authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to “coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency” in Genesee County. FEMA can provide up to $5 million in federal aid to help provide water, filters, and other items for up to 90 days to residents whose water has been contaminated since the city switched water supplies in a cost-cutting move in 2014.
The declaration was requested on Thursday by Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, who had also sought a major disaster declaration and asked for nearly $96 million to be expedited for relief efforts. A disaster declaration would have freed up more federal aid, but Flint’s problem did not qualify because it was a man-made disaster.
Gov. Snyder is planning to appeal the decision:
President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Flint on Saturday, but denied Snyder’s request to designate Flint a disaster zone because the city’s water contamination was a man-made calamity.
“We’re planning to appeal,” Snyder spokesman Dave Murray said Sunday. “We want to exhaust every opportunity to bring potential resources to Flint.”
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator W. Craig Fugate, in a letter to Snyder, said his request for a major disaster declaration was denied because the water contamination “does not meet the legal definition of a ‘major disaster’” under federal law.
“The incident was not the result of a natural catastrophe, nor was it created by a fire, flood or explosion,” Fugate said.
They are 100% correct. This was not caused by a natural catastrophe. It was created by an unnatural catastrophe, the corporatist approach taken by our CEO governor who insists, despite all of the evidence proving it does not work, that our state be “run like a business.”
Be sure to join the protest at the state Capitol tomorrow being held in conjunction with Gov. Snyder’s State of the State Address. RSVP and learn more at the event’s Facebook page HERE.
Speakers at the event will include:
- Melissa Mays, Flint resident, founder of Water You Fighting For
- Nayyirah Shariff, Flint resident, Flint Democracy Defense League
- Cindy Estrada, Vice President of the UAW
- Mark Schauer, former MI Congressman and Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate
- Curt Guyette, Investigative Reporter with the ACLU of Michigan
- Cheryl Weston, RN at McLaren Lapeer and Board Member of the Michigan Nurses Association
Check the Facebook page for information on buses running from various communities to Lansing to take people to the rally. In Washtenaw County, the Washtenaw County Democratic Party is working to run a bus to Lansing to take people from our area. Stay tuned for details on that.