Relentless Positive Procrastination
On October 2, 2015, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder admitted that there was a problem with lead contamination in the drinking water of Flint. That was 139 days ago. So far, exactly ZERO lead water lines have been replaced in the beleaguered city.
That is about to change. Well, eventually:
The state of Michigan announced on Tuesday a new agreement with a Flint-based engineering firm to help identify and assess the condition of high-risk lead pipes in the city in an effort to restore the city’s safe drinking water supply.
“We need to make sure people will be able to once again turn on the tap and be able to use what comes from it. We’re immediately targeting high-risk, high-hazard homes to help those families,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement. “Together, we can focus on longer-term solutions.”
The state did not immediately release the terms of the contract with the engineering firm Rowe Professional Services. Snyder spokesman Dave Murray said work would begin soon but he could not say how quickly it would start or when the work would be complete.
This can only be described as “relentless positive procrastination” from Michigan’s CEO governor. The technology is available. Lansing has done this and shown that it can be done safely and QUICKLY. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero – who ran against Gov. Snyder in 2010 – has pledged to help Flint with this Herculean effort. However, in the middle of an catastrophe, Gov. Snyder and his team are moving slowly and deliberately.
Meanwhile, Flint residents are still being told not to drink water directly from their taps unless it has been filtered through a filter capable of removing all the lead (which, in some places, isn’t even possible.) They are still having to bathe themselves and their children in bottled water. And, shockingly, according to canvassers for Clean Water Action who I have spoken with, some Flint residents aren’t even aware they shouldn’t drink their tap water. These are people who have yet to see a National Guard member on their doorstep delivering water.
Gov. Snyder says he is running our state like a business. If a business was dealing with a catastrophic disruption to their business like this, you can be sure it wouldn’t take well over four months to begin resolving it. Rick Snyder has convinced far too many voters that he’s a capable CEO and leader. His actions in the Flint water crisis have proven that to be an indisputable lie.
UPDATE: State Rep. Jeff Irwin from Ann Arbor informed me that he proposed an amendment this morning to Senate Bill 136 that would have appropriated $55 million to get moving quickly on the replacement of lead service lines in Flint. The amendment was defeated on a party line vote with all Republicans voting it down. S.B 136 is the legislation passed two weeks ago by the Senate to appropriate $30 million to offset the (poisoned) water bills of Flint residents.
[Rachel Maddow photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]