Yesterday, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton issued a statement on the ongoing crisis in Flint, Michigan where their drinking water has been poisoned with lead due to misconduct by the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder. In that statement, Clinton called the actions of Snyder administration “unconscionable” and applauded the Department of Justice for joining the Environmental Protection Agency for investigating .
Today, Clinton issued a second, even more powerful statement, something none of the other presidential candidates – Democrat or Republican – has done. In her statement she lays out specific things that she believes need to be done and done NOW.
Here is her statement, in full:
There is no excuse for what’s happening in Flint. A city of 99,000 people — a majority of them African-American, 40 percent living in poverty — spent nearly two years drinking and bathing in water that we now know contained dangerous amounts of lead. Officials told the public the water was safe — even after a GM plant stopped using it because it was too corrosive. If the water wasn’t good enough for cars, it wasn’t good enough for kids — period.
The people of Flint deserve to have safe drinking water restored as quickly as possible. Their children deserve to immediately get the health care they need. And they deserve to know what Governor Snyder knew and when he knew it.
While I’m glad that the Michigan state legislature passed a plan last October that will partially cover the cost of purchasing safe water until July, I’m calling on the state of Michigan to finance water purchases from Detroit until safe drinking water is fully restored in Flint. FEMA should conduct an expedited review of the city’s water infrastructure for damage, and the federal government should step up to be a partner in making necessary repairs.
I also urge the Obama Administration to immediately set up a health monitoring and surveillance system to test Flint residents for lead poisoning. Children who have been exposed to lead need to be immediately treated and monitored. And if there are long-term health impacts, those children and their families should be compensated.
In America, no mother should have to worry that the water her children are drinking and bathing in isn’t safe. I believe environmental justice can’t just be a slogan — it has to be a goal.
Meanwhile, Gov. Snyder says his administration is still not ready to ask the federal government for assistance:
“We have not made a specific request for assistance yet, but we’re in a dialogue with the federal emergency management people, talking to them about how we can best work together,” Snyder said in a City Hall news conference.
“This is a normal part of the process after we do a state declaration. It does take some time for us to put a request together for specific assistance, and we’re undergoing that process.
“It will take some time but we will get to that point,” Snyder said.
Considering that he has known about this problem since last February – nearly a year ago – one wonders what on earth is taking so long. Could it be he doesn’t want federal government officials digging into what he knew, when he knew it, and why officials from his administration altered DEQ reports to avoid being compelled by law to take action?
[CC photo by Marc Nozell | Wikimedia Commons]