Tuesday, March 8, 2016

On Flint's Water Crisis, There's Plenty of Blame To Go Around

On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, tried to lay blame on Michigan's Republican Governor, Rick Snyder, for Flint's lead contaminated drinking water problem. She said this:
"It isn't right that the kids I met in Flint on Sunday were poisoned because their governor wanted to save money."
But, as you will see, Hillary's words are once again, simply political spin on what is a very complex problem.

Flint's water problems started decades ago. Prior to 1986, communities throughout the United States, including Flint, used cheap lead pipes in order to save money. Then, in 1986, the Safe Drinking Water Act banned the use of the very lead pipes that are now poisoning Flint's citizens; especially its children. While the Safe Drinking Water Act banned these pipes, it did not mandate the replacement of them. Thus, Flint was a ticking time bomb, and this mostly Democrat-run city had to have known it all along.

Then, in 2011, Flint fell into receivership due to the amount of debt it had accumulated with years of Democratic overspending on salaries and pensions in a city that was declining both in wealth, population, and tax revenues.  As a result, Gov. Snyder took the advice of a State panel and put Flint under the control of a State Emergency Manager in order to find ways to make Flint solvent again.

At the same time, Flint was getting its water from the City of Detroit.  Another bankrupted city run by Democrats.  Detroit, in its attempt to become solvent again, began jacking up the prices it charged Flint for its water supply.  Prices that Flint and its citizens could no longer afford to pay.  The only real alternative to Detroit was to get water from Lake Huron, but it would take years to construct a viable pipeline.  So, in the short term, Flint's Democrat Mayor and Democrat City Council voted 7-1 in 2013 to reactivate their own water treatment system and access the City's water supply from the Flint River.  This would only take one year to complete and would save the City between one and two million dollars a year.  The Snyder appointed Emergency Manager reviewed the proposal and approved the Mayor and Council's request to source water from the polluted Flint River.

Then, in 2014, Flint went operational with its own water supply.  In order to assure that water from the foul smelling and polluted Flint River was safe to drink, the Mayor stated that it be tested for safety and then routinely tested for further assurance.  However, missing in the operational state of the Flint water treatment plant was the use of an anti-corrosive additive that would have prevented lead from leaching out of the old underground pipes throughout the city.

Even as constant testing was supposedly being conducted by the City, people began complaining about the discoloration, the odor, and the taste of their drinking water.  Then, in October 2014, the residents of Flint were advised to boil all their drinking water due to contamination.  Also, in just a few months past the switch over, a General Motors plant was forced to stop using Flint's water because it was corroding parts.  At nearly the same time, a local university and a local hospital saw corrosion problems, and were forced to began filtering their own water.  But, the City managers ignored these issues.

It wasn't until early 2015 that the sampling of the water by Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) found unacceptable high levels of lead.  A similar finding was determined by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just about a month later.  However, the announcement of the problem didn't come until months later in the fall of 2015.  Clearly a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act which requires that residents be notified no later than 30 days upon finding unacceptable levels of any harmful contaminants.  Also, an EPA review found the lead testing procedure to be flawed and that it understated the actual amount of lead toxicity.  This should not have been the case since all water testing procedures are to be certified by the EPA.

Finally, why it took nearly four months for both Governor Snyder and President Obama to declare Flint to be in an official state of emergency, thereby making state and federal funding relief available, is beyond me.  But, one thing is sure, Flint would have never had a need to switch the source of their water if it, and the other Democrat-controlled city, Detroit, hadn't experienced deep financial mismanagement.  Something that Hillary is trying to divert attention from by placing all the blame on the Republican Rick Snyder.  Also, Hillary should explain why she, as Senator in 2005, voted against the banning of a fuel additive in gasoline that was polluting our lakes, rivers, and ground water.  Some believe she didn't because her reelection was being heavily funded by too many companies that would benefit from her "no" vote.

Simply, once again, Hillary finds it impossible to "tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth".


Who's to blame for the Flint water crisis?: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2016/feb/15/whos-blame-flint-water-crisis/

As Water Problems Grew, Officials Belittled Complaints From Flint: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/us/flint-michigan-lead-water-crisis.html

Michigan Truth Squad: Who approved switch to Flint River? State's answers draw fouls: http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/01/michigan_truth_squad_who_appro.html

Flint Michigan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint,_Michigan#First_financial_emergency:_2002.E2.80.932004

The Democrats’ Filthy Flint Water Dirty politics lead to dirty water: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/261548/democrats-filthy-flint-water-daniel-greenfield

Obama administration and Democrats skip responsibility for Flint water crisis: http://www.speroforum.com/a/TQUEZQRDUL52/77138-Obama-administration-and-Democrats-skip-responsibility-for-Flint-water-crisis#.VtyFVua9X-t

50 years later: Ghosts of corruption still linger along old path of failed Flint water pipeline: http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2012/11/ghosts_of_corruption_still_lin.html

Hillary Clinton, Before Spotlighting Crisis In Flint, Michigan, Voted Against Measure To Prevent Groundwater Pollution: http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/hillary-clinton-spotlighting-crisis-flint-michigan-voted-against-measure-prevent

Flint water crisis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_water_crisis

Safe Drinking Water Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safe_Drinking_Water_Act

No comments: