Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Flint, Michigan...



thought it could save money by poisoning children.

If a fish stinks from the head, then Republican Governor Rick Snyder is a stink-bomb for the ages.





Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Mum on What He Knew About Flint Water



"...while declaring the state of emergency, Snyder wouldn’t say when he became aware of the lead problem in Flint. The governor—who likes to portray himself as a can-do manager—reportedly grew testy when asked repeatedly about his own awareness."


Flint’s drinking water became contaminated with lead in 2014 after switching its supply source from Lake Huron to the more polluted and corrosive Flint River. The move — a cost-cutting measure while the city was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager — resulted in a spike in lead levels in children, which causes permanent brain damage. A recent preliminary report from a task force appointed by Snyder placed most of the blame on the state Department of Environmental Quality and prompted the Dec. 29 resignation of DEQ Director Dan Wyant.


As is often the case in these sorts of situations, city officials denied that the water was unsafe, although they issued a notice that the levels of of trihaolomethanes (TTHM), a group of four chemicals formed as a byproduct of water disinfection, were too high. It got to the point where avoiding tap water became a way of life in Flint. Meanwhile, in September, Virginia Tech University researchers led by Marc Edwards tested water samples from 300 Flint homes and found high lead levels throughout the city. One sample was as high as 13,200 ppb. 

By way of comparison, the EPA considers water with 5,000 ppb lead to be hazardous waste. Not long after that, Flint pediatricians found that the percentage of children with elevated lead in their blood had doubled, from 2.1% before the switch to 4%. By October, Genesee County declared a public health emergency, and the City of Flint developed plans to distribute thousands of water filters. Finally, in October, Flint reconnected to Detroit water. 

Ultimately, several Flint residents filed a class action lawsuit, and in December the new mayor, Karen Weaver, declared a state of emergency, declaring that the elevated lead levels had caused irreversible damage to the health of the children of the city. And, finally, long after he should have done it, earlier this week Governor Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency as well.  --SOURCE



"...an email from Snyder’s then-chief of staff to a health-department official was turned over as part of a freedom-of-information request. In July 2015, Dennis Muchmore wrote: 

 I'm frustrated by the water issue in Flint I really don't think people are getting the benefit of the doubt. Now they are concerned and rightfully so about the lead level studies they are receiving. These folks are scared and worried about the health impacts and they are basically getting blown off by us (as a state we're just not sympathizing with their plight)."



To save money, the city began drawing its water from the Flint River, rather than from Detroit’s system, which was deemed too costly. But the river’s water was high in salt, which helped corrode Flint’s aging pipes, leaching lead into the water supply. 

 The move saved millions, but the problems started becoming apparent almost immediately. The water starting smelling like rotten eggs. Engineers responded to that problem by jacking up the chlorine level, leading to dangerous toxicity. GM discovered that city water was corroding engines at a Flint factory and switched sources. 

Then children and others started getting rashes and falling sick. Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech environmental-engineering professor, found that the water had nearly 900 times the recommend EPA limit for lead particles. As...Alana Semuels noted in a deeply reported feature in July 2015, residents believe the city knew about problems as soon as May 2014. 

Yet as late as February 2015, even after tests showed dangerous lead levels, officials were telling residents there was no threat.


How could this happen in America? Children poisoned by their government?  You tell me, because I can't fathom how anyone involved in this disaster can live with themselves knowing what their actions have done to countless innocent children's lives.


Expert says Michigan officials changed a Flint lead report to avoid federal action


Internal Email: Michigan 'Blowing Off' Flint Over Lead in Water





21 comments:

Dave Miller said...

If there was ever a case of failing to safe guard the citizens of your state, this is it.

Everyone involved should resign in disgrace. That means the guv, the leaders of Flint, and anyone else shown to have been part of this disgrace.

Saying you are going to fix a disaster like this, which you helped create, is not the answer.

Jerry Critter said...

Just another example of republicans not caring about people.

Ducky's here said...

No, there's no disgrace, Dave.
The people of Flint are poor and just asking for the Full Ayn Rand.
An appointed manager whose task was to save money just decided to poison the residents of Flint.
And it went unreported for an extended time. Flint would have been better off if they just had the water turned off as is being done in Detroit.

Look for this one at the next Republican debate.
Trump: I'd get them clean water. We have plans. Don't have them here but it's going to be great.

Just let them be poisoned. It's numbing.
Save a few bucks. Now what about the kids who need expensive medical treatment?
Put it on the Feds and complain about the budget.

Wonder what the Bundy hoser boys are doing for water.

Anonymous said...


From The Rude Pundit:

"The shortest version: budget-cutting, state-appointed emergency managers switched the water supply for Flint from Lake Huron to the polluted Flint River through sheer ignorance and wanton fuckery. By the time anyone listened that the water was poisoned, the chemicals had fucked up the pipes, and they continue to leech lead into the water supply so no one can drink from the faucet. If the state was led by honorable people, they would have lined up and sliced open their own guts with daggers to apologize.

Which gets us to Freeman Elementary School, a pre-kindergarten to sixth-grade public school in Flint and its family fun day, which will be held tomorrow at the school. Of course, it's not going to be just family fun, as a headline from the local paper reveals:

Lead Testing to Take Place During Family Fun Night"

Rusty Old Ford said...



Vote Republican and get more of the same more of what Rick Snyder's administration lackies gave Flint Michigan.

Anonymous said...

Good thing we have the EPA
Thanks Nixon

Jerry Critter said...

Republicans leading government give you Flint, Michigan.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Thank you Anon@5:03 and Rusty O.F.

Ducky, Jerry, and Dave,

Where is the outrage from the right wingers? They were howling like hell over Obama's non-taking-of guns Executive Order, which didn't poison children, yet we hear nothing from the wingers to children from a poor community -- effects from drinking poisoned water that will follow them their entire lives. I've read nothing on those winger blogs.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Right now, the State of Michigan should be able to say that it has ensured the delivery of bottled water and water filters to every Flint resident whose drinking water has been contaminated by lead. Right now, the State of Michigan should be able to say it has taken the first steps to craft nutritional and educational interventions for lead-poisoned Flint kids. Right now, the State of Michigan should be able to say it is using funds made available by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to replace aging lead water service lines in Flint.

Instead, the governor is offering placid responses and slow-walking important remedies, while the investigation into how one of Michigan’s greatest man-made public health crises unfolded comes up with explanations in dribs and drabs.


DETROIT FREE PRESS

FEMA sends officials to help with Flint water crisis

It’s not just derelict — it invokes inglorious comparison to other callous and insensitive official responses to tragedy. Think of the shameful federal response to Hurricane Katrina, where the same lack of urgency delayed life-saving aid. The poverty rate in Flint is 40%; 52% of Flint residents are African-American. And so we are prompted to ask: How would the state have responded to a crisis of such proportions in a community with more wealth and power?

Under the guidance of an emergency manager appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, Flint began, almost two years ago, to draw its drinking water from the Flint River. Because the local treatment plant, with the approval of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, didn't add the right chemicals to that river water, lead leached from aging service lines and into the city's drinking water. Thousands of Flint residents — including vulnerable infants and expectant mothers — were exposed to a toxic contaminant that can cause irreversible behavioral and developmental problems.


An unimaginable FUBAR brought to Flint Michigan by a heartless bunch of pols.

Jerry Critter said...

The tithe wing cares more about politics than people.

Dave Miller said...

This is a total screw up by everyone involved.

The city of Flint made the decision to save money.. Within four months, they knew they had a problem when fecal matter and bacteria showed up. That was in May of 2014, when they issued a boil water order.

It's now Jan 2016, 16 months after that initial order, and finally, they've figured out they have a problem.

Ducky is right... poor people have little or no voice in this country, or any other for that matter. You can't fix lead poisoning. The affected kids will suffer for the rest of their lives, even as politicians strive to cut their benefits because they are a bunch of slackers.

I'm disgusted by all of this...

Very Dead Andrew said...

You won't read anything on gooper blogs about the Flint scandal shaw because they only interested in unborn not in living, breathing children out of the uterus, and especially not poor, brown children from poor cities. Theyre consistent that way.

skudrunner said...

Just another example of governments making decisions that should have been made at the local level and everyone suffering from the unintended consequence.

Much as you would like to point blame on the Governor because he is not a democrat, there is plenty of blame to go around. It does point out how efficient government is.

Shaw Kenawe said...

skud: "Just another example of governments making decisions that should have been made at the local level and everyone suffering from the unintended consequence."

SK: Flint’s drinking water became contaminated with lead in 2014 after switching its supply source from Lake Huron to the more polluted and corrosive Flint River. The move — a cost-cutting measure while the city was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager — resulted in a spike in lead levels in children, which causes permanent brain damage.

Local control and decisions were taken away by STATE GOVERNMENT, which appointed an emergency manager. The local government was usurped by the STATE GOVERNMENT. The decision to send Flint River water (which eventually caused lead poisoning) was made by the emergency manager and his/her staff, who were appointed by the state.

skud: "Much as you would like to point blame on the Governor because he is not a democrat,"

No, skud. Blame is not being cast on Snyder because he is NOT a Democrat, blame is being cast on him AND HIS ADMINISTRATION for not reacting swiftly and with urgency when information on the lead poisoning came to light. That was 16 months ago when the Snyder Administration -- 16 months of pregnant women, babies, children and other citizens in Flint exposed to life altering hazards from the contaminated drinking water. If there ever was a time to put BLAME on a state government this is it. Exposing poor people to unnecessary dangers in order to save a couple of dollars seems to be the mantra of the GOP these days.

Now that Bobby Jindal is no longer the governor of Louisiana, 100,000 people will be eligible to receive expanded Medicaid coverage under the ACA. Jindal chose cheap politics over the health of his state's poorest. Thank goodness the new Democratic governnor is changing that. Republican Governor Jindal left Louisiana a fiscal wreck and endangered the health of the neediest in his state.

Great GOP values here in two lessons: Save money by endangering people's lives, they're only poor people with no political power, so who cares.

Disgusting.

Ray Cranston said...

Off Topic --re tonite's SOTU by Obama:


Ben Carson Calls For Investigation Of Muslim Guests Attending State Of The Union

Carson sez the Muslims attending are unAmerican, then goes on to suggest the MOST unAmerican action: Investigate guests at the SOTU? What do these TeaGoopers want this country to turn into? The old Soviet Union? Totalitarian nightmare? Glad that Carson is sinking in the polls. He a true goofball proving you don't have to be a genius to be a brain surgeon.

Ducky's here said...

No skud, the blame is pretty well confined to the governor's office. At the point he knew the lead was leeching from the pipes due to the toxic water this was no longer a matter of "unintended" consequences.
Was the decision to switch the water supply to the acknowledged polluted Flint river "unintended"?

This was all his show right down the line. He knew the residents of Flint were being poisoned and did nothing.

But I think it gets worse -- from the Detroit Free Press:
"LANSING — Michigan's Board of State Canvassers, for the second time in less than a month, rejected Thursday a recall petition aimed at Gov. Rick Snyder over the Flint water crisis.

The bipartisan board ruled 4-0 that the reasons cited by Angelo Scott Brown, a Detroit pastor, for the proposed recall were not clear and factual ...

... But John Pirich, an attorney representing Snyder, said the proposed recall petition is "fatally flawed." Pirich told the board that not only was the decision to switch Flint's drinking water supply not made by Snyder, but it was made in 2013, prior to Snyder's election to a second term in 2014."

There's nothing left to say. All that's left to do is tally up the cost in lead poisoning induced violence and general human misery.
Not even a Congressional hearing.

Ducky's here said...

Irony thick enough to cut with a knife.

""I have a degree of responsibility," he (Snyder) said."

No Rick, you are completely responsible and should be in jail.

""We're continuing to work hard. We're going to continue to step up our efforts," he (Snyder) said."
You're about a year to late, you sleaze.

Sofa King Conservative said...

Vote Republican! They know how to run things for rich white people!

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Please recall: It was Gov. Snyder who, with the aid of a Republican dominated state legislature, demanded a law that empowered him to appoint "Executive Managers" to nullify the power of duly elected local governments. Here is an example of a DESPOT violating every principle of American democracy. And to make matters worse, the GOP-led legislature gave Snyder virtual immunity from FISA disclosures - thus giving him the power to conceal his misdeeds and avoid accountability.

Not just Snyder in Michigan but Brownback in Kansas (who now controls the state judiciary with absolute power). Not just Snyder in Michigan or Brownback in Kansas, but also the governor of Texas who seeks to change the Constitution and secede from our Federalist system of government.

Here are examples of the GOP authoritarian mindset at its worst (and the reason why I DESPISE THE GOP with a passion).

Ducky's here said...

Monday's Majority Report podcast covered this issue pretty well with a reporter on the Michigan political scene.

I didn't know that lead poisoning can be congenital. The problem might extend beyond this generation in Flint.

The commentator also felt that the only people likely to see jail are the protesters.
Unelected overseers decide to poison a city and the damage control teams make sure they're protected.

"This could look bad for OCP, Johnson. Assemble the best spin team we have."

Meanwhile there are some charitable efforts to distribute bottled water but Flint simply doesn't have the resources to manage this problem.

Bottom line, the government of Michigan knowingly poisoned the residents of Flint and are only concerned with protecting themselves.
I don't know if it hasn't sunk in yet or it's just being ignored but this matter still hasn't generated the rage it deserves.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Ducky: "I don't know if it hasn't sunk in yet or it's just being ignored but this matter still hasn't generated the rage it deserves."

Neither Hillary nor Obama are involved, so it isn't a scandal, just some unfortunate miscommunication by the GOP governor and state-imposed managers.

Anyway, a jihadist didn't poison Americans, so why panic?

Jerry Critter said...

Who needs a jihadist when you have a governor like Snyder and incompetent minions.