As we talked about on this week’s podcast, a federal judge has ordered the State of Michigan and the City of Flint to return to providing bottled water to the resident of Flint who are being impacted by the ongoing tragedy of the poisoning of their drinking water with the powerful neurotoxin lead:
A federal judge has ordered state officials to deliver bottled water to Flint residents who don’t have properly installed and maintained water filters on their kitchen taps. […]
State officials argued bottled water can be picked up as needed at distribution centers and those who can’t pick it up can call 2-1-1 to arrange for delivery. They also argued the cost of delivering water to households would be $9 million per month.
However, “the plaintiffs have offered credible anecdotal evidence that indicates that the distribution network is in flux and not completely effective in providing safe drinking water to several households,” [U.S. District Judge David] Lawson said.
“Despite the substantial efforts of Capt. (Chris) Kelenske (of the Michigan State Police) and others, it is clear that some residents, who are actively seeking safe drinking water, are encountering great difficulty …”
He said he heard testimony that some residents have stopped calling 2-1-1 because of frustrations with the response, and others don’t know the service is available.
“The harm in this case is not environmental; it concerns public health and safety,” Lawson said. Also, “the defendants need not deliver water to homes that have properly installed and maintained faucet water filters, as long as the defendants can monitor and verify the effectiveness of the filters.”
That will reduce the cost of delivery, Lawson said, but “if the defendants cannot establish that a household is so equipped (with a working filter), then they must deliver the water by other means.”
This was welcome news to the tens of thousands of Flint residents impacted by this human-made disaster, the direct result of decisions made by state-appointed Emergency Managers.
The City has agreed to comply. The Snyder administration, however, is choosing to fight the court order and has filed an appeal:
The administration of Gov. Rick Snyder moved today to block a federal court order forcing state officials to deliver bottled water to Flint residents who don’t have properly installed and maintained water filters on their kitchen taps. […]
Anna Heaton, a spokeswoman for Snyder, said today the order would have the effect of reversing the city’s progress from the Flint water crisis by redirecting limited resources unnecessarily.
“The herculean effort required by the court order would be on the magnitude of a large-scale military operation,” Heaton said.
In addition to delivering cases of water in extreme quantities, the state would have to address the full-time canvassing of homes to determine the ongoing status of water filters and deal with the potential public health risk from millions of empty water bottles suddenly flooding Flint’s trash and recycling system, according to Heaton.
“The resources to accomplish this would only be available through the activation of the National Guard or the hiring of several logistics companies with the necessary equipment and personnel to achieve this unprecedented level of effort,” she said.
DING! DING! DING!
Yes, Ms. Heaton, that is EXACTLY what it will take and that is EXACTLY what so many of us have been calling for in the … [Checks Eclectablog Flint Water Crisis Watch tracker] … 414 days since your boss, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder admitted that the drinking water in Flint was poisoned with lead. Make an Herculean effort! Call in the National Guard! Hire several logistics companies! Make an unprecedented level of effort. This is an unprecedented catastrophe and the only appropriate response IS an unprecedented level of effort. Get going. NOW!
It’s just incredible to me that after all this time, the administration of Rick Snyder is fighting doing the right thing. Is it because the national attention has shifted to the WWE Mussolini (hat tip: LOLGOP) we just elected president? Do they think nobody is watching anymore?
I have news for you, Gov. Snyder, we are watching you at every step. We are watching every move you make and every move you decline to make. We will continue to talk about it on our podcast every week and we will continue to write about it as needed. We will travel to Flint to talk to your victims and tell their story. We will be unrelenting until you make the residents of Flint whole again and put the pieces of this china shop back together.
Gov. Snyder, do the right thing and drop this appeal NOW.
[Photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]