The Flint Water Crisis: In 2014, the city of Flint switched its water supply. Almost immediately, Flint residents started to complain about lead seepage into their tap water - sparking a giant public health crisis. Soon after, President Obama declared a federal state of emergency.
For those who aren't completely familiar with the Flint Water Crisis details, I will post the most important facts below:
The problem stemmed when Flint officials were looking to explore ways to save money by switching from its then current provider, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, to see if it could build its own pipeline to connect to the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA). The option was projected to save the region "200 million over 25 years." However, until Flint's pipeline connected to the KWA, the city decided to connect to the Flint River as an interim source of water.
In response to the plan, officials did not immediately treat Flint water and gauge its quality to see if it was safe. Instead, they took a wait and see approach - and as Flint River water continued to flow into the pipes of Flint residents' householders, lead, E. coli, and total coliform bacteria were detected in Flint's water.
Certainly, these substances in drinking water were hazardous. According to the World Health Organization, high blood lead levels can cause "learning disabilities" and "behavioral problems" in children - and certainly, it the ability to harm all people who would drink the water. Soon, Gov. Rick Snyder, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and President Obama became heavily involved and began to wonder about the motives, intentions, and actions of the officials who caused the pipeline switch.
Long story short, four officials -- two of Flint's former emergency managers, who reported directly to the governor and water plant officials -- were charged of felonies of "false pretenses and conspiracy." They were accused of misleading the Michigan Dpt. of Treasury into getting millions in bonds and then misusing the money intentionally to finance the construction of a new pipeline all while forcing Flint's drinking water source to be switched to the unsustainable Flint River.
Civil society groups like the ACLU also became extremely involved. The ACLU filed a class action lawsuit against school districts in Flint for giving students tainted water knowingly and inadequately testing them for learning disabilities that may have been caused by drinking Flint Water.
How does this issue make you feel about Michigan government stakeholders' commitment to the environment - and how it affects other peoples' health?
As a caucus dedicated to exploring education and policy issues, I think this is a great example of how water and environmental neglect has led children in Flint education systems to be disregarded by the contaminated water - which has led to the rise of learning disabilities and the overall health of children in the Flint school systems.
What do you think of this issue, caucus?