The people of Flint, Mich., still do not have clean water in their taps, but what they do have is a three-and-a-half-year legacy of bureaucratic bullshit and red tape, lead poisoning, outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease, sick babies and children, and a whole lot of back-and-forth between the city and the state over who is going to fix the various problems related to the crisis and how.
The Flint City Council refused to approve a 30-year contract with Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) out of Detroit Monday, despite a mandatory deadline imposed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and on Wednesday the state responding by filing a lawsuit against the city, alleging the city is endangering public health as the ongoing saga of the lead-contaminated water continues.
Monday, June 26, was the deadline set by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for the Flint, Mich., City Council to either approve a 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority, provide an alternative long-term water solution or face legal action, and after a night of screaming matches between the public, council members and even Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, the council voted to extend the city’s contract with GLWA until September.
A police officer was stabbed Wednesday at the Flint, Mich., international airport, and the FBI says it is investigating the incident as a possible act of terrorism because of statements the suspect reportedly made before attacking the officer.
The Flint City Council is considering a new short-term contract to purchase water from the Great Lakes Water Authority out of Detroit, in an agreement that will come at a 4.7 percent price increase for the water used. The agreement is imperative in order for the city to continue to receive pre-treated water for its residents and businesses.
Six teenagers in Flint, Mich., are charged as adults in connection with a Facebook video showing a 16-year-old being dragged from a home and beaten by multiple people on the front lawn of the house.
Flint Schools Superintendent Bilal Tawwab told MLive that the entire thing was Eminem’s idea. He and his Marshall Mathers foundation reached out to the school district with the idea, and it was the second time the rapper and his foundation have helped Flint students. In August 2016, he gave more than 240 backpacks filled with supplies to students at Flint’s Freeman Elementary School.
Late Monday, a federal judge in Ann Arbor, Mich., ruled that residents may continue with their lawsuit against the City of Flint and top state water officials in Michigan over allegations they violated the residents’ “bodily integrity” by exposing them to lead-contaminated water and failing to to disclose the contamination right away.
“We are not suggesting that those making decisions related to this crisis were racists … (but the) disparate response is the result of systemic racism that was built into the foundation and growth of Flint, its industry and suburban area,” the report says. “Would the Flint water crisis have been allowed to happen in Birmingham, Ann Arbor or East Grand Rapids? We believe the answer is no, and that the vestiges of segregation and discrimination found in Flint made it a unique target. The lack of political clout left the residents with nowhere to turn, no way to have their voices heard.”
Don’t get me wrong; it’s not as if the commission said anything we didn’t already know, but now that it is officially documented for what it is, can we finally get the people of Flint some help? Please?
More than 1,700 Flint residents are part of a class-action lawsuit that seeks more than $700 million in compensation from the US Environmental Protection Agency for personal and property damage allegedly caused during the water crisis.
The lawsuit, filed Monday, Jan. 30 in U.S. District Court, claims the EPA failed to follow agency mandates and directives after issues arose with the water and did not take emergency action until several months after it first became aware of trouble with the city’s water system.
The EPA has not yet responded to the lawsuit brought forth by former Flint resident Jan Burgess.
According to the lawsuit, an administrative claim for payment of $722.4 million in damages has been pending with the EPA since April 2016 and has neither been accepted nor denied by the agency.
The lawsuit charges the EPA with failure to take mandatory actions required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SWDA), failing to undertake a timely investigation and failing to warn the public of environmental risks to public health.
According to the lawsuit, the EPA was made aware of the issues with Flint’s water in October 2014 after the water source was switched from Detroit to the Flint River, but failed to take steps to make sure Michigan and Flint officials were taking appropriate action to protect the public. Because of this, the agency was in violation of section 1431 of the Safe Water Drinking Act.
From the EPA website:
SDWA section 1431, 42 U.S.C. §300i gives the EPA Administrator broad authority to act to protect the health of persons in situations where there may be an imminent and substantial endangerment. Specifically, section 1431 provides that, upon receipt of information that a contaminant that is present in or likely to enter a public water system or an underground source of drinking water, or there is a threatened or potential terrorist attack or other intentional act, that may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of persons, the EPA Administrator may take any action she deems necessary to protect human health.
According to MLive, EPA officials are also alleged to have violated the Federal Tort Claims Act, which allows businesses, individuals, or government entities to claim monetary damages resulting from resulting from personal injury, property damage or economic loss caused by negligent or wrongful U.S. government actions.
The damages claimed in the lawsuit on behalf of the residents include physical injury, illness, lead poisoning, dermatological disorders, loss of hair, gastrointestinal disorders and damage to the property of homeowners.
Read more at MLive.