Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Begs Big Government To Fix Water He Poisoned, Pretty Please
It'd be appetizing even without the lead. But there's lead, too.
[contextly_sidebar id="v4QehZOVfvvY58fzz0cJ7Eo1eJbmJjLb"]Hey, it only took a few months after the state confirmed dangerous levels of lead in the water in Flint, Michigan, and a full week after his own declaration of emergency -- coincidentally following the launch of a federal investigation -- but Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is finally asking the federal government for help with the mass poisoning that his administration caused. It's the very sort of speedy action that Snyder's time in office is certain to be remembered for:
Snyder said the state is starting to draft a request for federal emergency assistance with Flint’s lead contaminated water crisis.
“We have engaged FEMA in this process,” Snyder said about the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “We have not made a specific request for assistance yet.”
So almost any month now, Flint residents can start looking forward to getting a reliable source of water that won't poison their kids with lead. Which is what they had before a Snyder-appointed emergency manager for the city decided in April 2014 that it would be cheaper to get the city's water from the Flint River instead of buying it from Detroit. There was only one teensy problem with the Flint river water: Since its chemical composition was different from the Lake Huron water the city had been getting for 50 years, it started eroding the pipes throughout the city's water system, which included a lot of old lead pipes and lead solder from the bad old days when everyone was convinced lead was No Big.
As if lead leaching into the water wasn't bad enough, the water coming out of Flint faucets was stinky, brown, and gave people rashes when they showered in it. For over a year, the state insisted there was nothing wrong with Flint's water -- it would just take a little getting used to. Never mind that in October 2014, a General Motors engine plant in Flint said it would stop using the city's water because it was too corrosive to use in manufacturing engine blocks.
[contextly_sidebar id="k78VYdWAYvPRW5NIunsxtOHkGQOvvFmW"]Michigan's government ignored outside experts who tested the water and found dangerous lead levels, and generally denied everything and insisted the water was just fine, until finally the state confirmed in October 2015 that there were elevated lead levels, and Flint's water system was reconnected to the Detroit pipes that month. By then, Flint's pipes were so corroded that the water was still unsafe, and Flint's mayor declared a state of emergency in December 2015. That finally started getting national media attention, because for chrissakes, lead in children's water. Since then, Flint residents have been relying on charities for bottled water, although the governor's office announced Saturday that it will start sending bottled water and filters to Flint. In addition, state police will begin going door to door delivering supplies this week. No rush, governor.
After the shitty water hit the fan (if only -- e. coli is awful but not a neurotoxin!), we started finding out just how thoroughly the state had ignored the problems in Flint. It was already bad enough in July 2015 that Gov. Snyder's chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore (obviously named by Charles Dickens), complained in an email exchange with the Department of Health and Human Services that he was "frustrated by the water issue in Flint," adding:
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 from the [Michigan Department of Environmental Quality] samples. ... 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).
You think? It only took another six months for the state to act, so that seems pretty speedy. It probably didn't help that, according to an ACLU investigation, Michigan officials also manipulated water tests to avoid triggering federal action.
But now Snyder is finally bringing in the feds -- or at least drafting the request for help -- so everything will be just peachy. This week, the state announced it was opening five centers in Flint to distribute water, water filters, and lead testing kits, although MSNBC reported Monday night that the centers were already running out of supplies.
Michigan public radio notes that in response to editorials and national coverage criticizing Snyder's slow response to the Flint water crisis, "The Snyder administration responded by posting photos of the state’s emergency operations center on social media and calling attention to stepped-up efforts to get water filters to city residents." Yr Wonkette would like to offer a big wet kiss to Rick Pluta for the sheer snarky beauty of that sentence.
Rick Snyder has taken other firm action, too: He's appointed Darnell Farley, the emergency manager who switched Flint's water from the Detroit system to the Flint River, to be the new emergency manager of Detroit's public schools. Funny, they're in chaos now, and expecting a teacher sick-out. Could be the teachers got Snyder poisoning.
And maybe, sometime soon, jackbooted federal FEMA thugs will show up with some clean U.S. government water, and the lead-poisoned people of Flint won't even mind what kind of shoes they're wearing.
[Detroit News / Michigan Radio Timeline / MLive Timeline / Detroit News again / Detroit Free Press / MSNBC / Slate]
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.