Breaking: Report finds ‘environmental injustice’ in Flint water crisis; poor, majority-black population given inferior protection

State government is primarily responsible for the Flint water crisis, and state officials – including the governor – should stop implying that federal and Flint city officials are equally to blame.

That’s one of the findings in the blunt final report released today by the Flint Water Advisory Task Force, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to investigate the causes of the crisis that led to the lead poisoning of a Michigan city, and to make recommendations to assure that it never happens again.

Bridge Magazine will be providing more analysis of the report soon. For now, read the full report, embedded below.

Final Flint Water Advisory Task Force Report 21march2016

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William Plumpe
Wed, 03/23/2016 - 10:54am
Environmental Injustice caused by bad management and executive error and incompetence. In turn caused by excessive pride and too much emphasis on the bottom line. The Governor's Office and Governor Snyder himself are primarily responsible for the continuing disaster that is the Flint water crisis.
Irene Lamanen
Wed, 03/23/2016 - 12:46pm
Environmental Injustice is but a euphemism for Envrironmental Racism. Let's recognize it for what it is ... here and throughout the country. In MI, this never would have occurred in Plymouth, Birmingham, Northville, Livonia, St Clair Shores, Grosse Pointe, Traverse City, Marquette, etc etc etc. You get the picture. Abominable. Shameful. Michigan now the pariah of the nation.
Mike S
Wed, 03/23/2016 - 1:12pm
We must be careful how we blame "up the chain of command". Do we really expect the top of the chain to be an expert in water quality? If so, then we should expect the CEO of GM to be an expert auto mechanic, and the CEO of Boeing to know how to fly a 757. We all rely on people who are more experienced and knowledgeable than us to consult us on a daily basis (our plumber, auto mechanic, doctor, accountant, etc). In this case, the experts in the field of drinking water quality were the DW operators, DEQ, and EPA. If those higher up in the chain of command were given false information by the experts, then did we really expect them to react differently? Was the Flint Mayor or City Council supposed to operate the water treatment plant for a day to see if they could improve it? Was the Governor supposed to go visit homes and look at service leads or grab water samples? The responsibility of those higher up is to surround themselves with COMPETENT people to give them accurate information so that they can make sound decisions based upon the correct information. "Garbage in, garbage out" applies in this case. In addition to this, we quit using lead in drinking water pipes in 1986, and we have known above lead poisoning before that. The City of Lansing has been replacing all of their lead service leads in the water system for 14 years. What was Flint doing for the past 14 years? This was a problem before the emergency manager was put into place.
Wed, 03/23/2016 - 2:33pm
It's the Snyder culture of smoke and mirrors and secrecy that caused this. That was the culture at Gateway and SPARK and Snyder brought it to the governor's office. When you don't want inconvenient information or bad news, well, you don't get any in that kind information! Perhaps you can explain why Snyder didn't ask questions or investigate after GM publicly said it was stopping the use of Flint water due to corrosion of their auto parts. And look at the first thing the governor did after this hit the news big time: hired PR firms. And then when it got more bad press? Hired two outside legal firms. It's clear he's more interested in deflecting blame and preserving his 'reputation' than in preserving the health of Flint residents.
Wed, 03/23/2016 - 2:35pm
Oh - Mike: The CEO of Boeing is a pilot. And flew the 757 (he was the chief test pilot at Boeing once). The board at Boeing thought having a pilot as CEO made sense.
Wed, 03/23/2016 - 5:16pm
Mike, The City of Lansing replaced its lead service leads but also put an anti-corrosive in the water because lead pipes going up to older houses remained. The MDEQ inexplicably said such anti-corrosives were not needed. Peter
Thu, 03/24/2016 - 7:48pm
When Snyder placed EMs in multiple cities , they became the Deputy Mayors to Snyders Mayor. Snyder intentionally took the DEQ out from the EPA, and put it under him directly. So, the comparison to Boeing and GM.. No. There was not a lot of layers in between Snyder and the rest of the chain. You don't need to be a water quality expert to know that yellow stinky water is not good. If Snyder can't keep the left and right hands in communication, then he realky ought to keep both out of the local govts.
Fri, 03/25/2016 - 7:06am
I want you to know my name—it's Republican Senator Stinkbomb Dumbhead GOP senator says no federal funding needed, stops $100 million in emergency funding for Flint water Mar 07, 2016 5:00pm EST by Walter Einenkel Comment_large186 179 Senator Mike Lee from Utah has decided that a good way to make a (grand)stand on the “federalization” of water infrastructure is to keep emergency funds away from American citizens whose water supply has been poisoned by incompetent Republican lawmakers. Michigan has an enormous budget surplus this year and a large rainy-day fund,” Lee said. “Relief and repair efforts are already in the works. The people and policymakers of Michigan right now have all the government resources they need to fix the problem. … The only thing Congress is contributing to the Flint recovery is political grandstanding.” Stabenow, who worked with Peters for weeks to secure a group of Republican and Democratic cosponsors for the legislation, expressed surprise that Lee has placed a hold on the measure, which effectively keeps the Senate from voting on it, even though it is fully paid for. [My emphasis] FLINT, MI - JANUARY 26: Matt Hopper holds and comforts Nyla Hopper, age 5 of Flint, after she has her blood drawn to be tested for lead on January 26, 2016 at Eisenhower Elementary School in Flint, Michigan. Free lead screenings are performed for Flint children 6-years-old and younger, one of several events sponsored by Molina Healthcare following the city's water contamination and federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Sen. Mike Lee isn’t here to help you, he’s here to help Senator Mike Lee Lee is blocking a bill that does not increase federal spending. At all. Asshole! What say you, Senator Mike Lee? “What’s really happening here is that Washington politicians are using the crisis in Flint as an excuse to funnel taxpayer money to their own home states, and trying to sneak it through the Senate without proper debate and amendment,” he said. “I respectfully object.” Here’s another quote from Lee, way back in 2011 when Utah had some flooding, and he was dipping into the federal disaster relief fund. "That money is there," Lee said. "It's been appropriated for disaster relief, and I see no reason why Utah ought not be entitled to receive such federal funds." December floods punished Kane and Washington counties, causing nearly $6 million in damage to roads, utility systems, parks and trails. Senator Mike Lee is somehow making a run at Orrin Hatch for being the one of the worst things to ever come out of Utah.
Wed, 03/23/2016 - 1:26pm
From all reports, Governor Snyder really had no idea of how incompetent his administration is as shown in this report. A state is not a business, and not everything can be judged by the bottom line. I am hoping lessons have been learned here, and as said in the report, it may not have been intentional but from what I have seen is that it was arrogance of an entire administration. This starts at the top, and Governor Snyder has finally been "transparent", as he said he was going to be, which right now at least makes him an honest man. This tragedy did not happen overnight but has been the culmination of years of abuse of power by setting policies good for some, not good for all. Michigan has learned a tragic lesson and this report is only the beginning of the unraveling. Michigan citizens need to unite for once, stop this bipartisan bickering and do the right thing. This is true for Flint as well as Detroit as well as Pontiac.
Wed, 03/23/2016 - 2:13pm
The problem was well known with all Flint administrations for decades. Democrat administrations. Continuing to play the blame game gets nothing done for Flint residents. Hundreds of communities of all races across the country are in the same lead pipe predicament.
James Fuscaldo
Wed, 03/23/2016 - 2:29pm
The Flint water crisis has initiated a national debate on the capability of municipalities to ensure clean and safe water for its residents. The crises has become the proverbial political football, where ascertaining blame for incompetence and negligence is the focus of discussion. The focus has been on the Governor’s emails and who knew what and when in the government agencies responsible for monitoring Flint’s water quality. Lansing’s supervision to resolve Flint’s financial mismanagement has been the subject of many “but for” excuses. All have become the primary focus in the news and web sites like Bridge Magazine. What is absent from the discussion is a long term practical solution other than how to convince the guardians of the Federal Government’s purse to bail out Flint with taxpayer dollars. The maintenance of municipal water and sewer infrastructure presents the same financial funding issues that are associated with the maintenance of Michigan roads and bridges. The legislative solution in Lansing is to levy taxes on somebody or something. If it can be bought, sold or used Lansing will tax it! If it lives or breathes find a way to tax it! This attitude reflects the failure of Lansing governance, irrespective of political affiliation, to embrace creative solutions and think outside the box known as taxation. Permit me to present the idea of Public Private Partnerships (PPP’s) that I raised during the road funding debate. Legislation authorizing the funding for roads, bridges and other infrastructure maintenance has been passed in twenty-four states except Michigan. Michigan’s House Bill 4961 in 2009 authorizing the use of PPP’s failed. WHY? Communities challenged with aging water and wastewater infrastructure, increasingly complex regulatory requirements and budgetary constraints require proven alternative solutions other than taxation or bail outs from Washington. Many states and municipalities have entered into Water-Waste Water Utility Public Private Partnerships. The American Legislative Exchange Council has a draft proposal available for state legislatures to consider to authorize PPP’s within their states. The District of Columbia; Chicago Heights, Illinois; Edison and Bayonne, New Jersey, and Seattle, Washington are a few municipalities that have implemented PPP’s to manage their water and waste water treatment facilities. In short proven and tested models and solutions are available. What’s the solution? We the people must challenge our elected representatives to enter the Twenty-first Century of political governance. They must begin thinking outside the box of taxation and seeking bail outs from the Federal Government. Many states, like Michigan, are looking to the Federal Government for solutions for health care, education, road funding and now water treatment facilities. Michigan is becoming a dependent of the Federal Government and thereby relinquishing its sovereignty guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. Lansing is always focused on more funding for education failures, picking winners and losers in the private sector (mostly losers), and use of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation as a slush fund for whatever political party holds office. It is time for an intelligent change! The problem is the political class hates change that threatens their power, directly or indirectly. Just saying folks !
El J
Sun, 05/01/2016 - 6:35am
Agreed, on all points.
Thu, 03/24/2016 - 8:29am
Using the reasoning of everything I've read, the problem is because there are people not wanting to pay for anything and wanting everything for free. Sounds like democrat playbook. Create a problem. Blame anyone/everyone else for problem. Sit back and expect anyone/everyone else to care more than than you yourself care about it and demand everyone else fix your problem. Hey folks, take personal responsibility for yourself and your family quit the blame game. Wasn't this whole mess caused by the past Flint movers and shakers (rulers) causing the city to go bankrupt? They gave away the store expecting everyone else to pay for their mess. Hey, you shit in your bed? Well, now sleep in your incestuous democrat bed.
Chuck Jordan
Sun, 03/27/2016 - 11:46am
Interesting that in yesterday's Weekly Update, Rep. Fred Upton blames the EPA. Nothing about MDEQ. But I welcome his ideas to make the EPA and its regulations stronger. Right.
Mon, 05/02/2016 - 10:14am
Bottom line? If the people of Flint allowed this to happen to themselves, how can anyone or why should anyone else help them? Are they a bunch of mindless robots? Whoops. I forgot. They are democrats. Electing democrats. Allowing to let democrats tell them what to think. When to think. How to think. Where to think. Not my problem. Think for themselves and the problem is fixed.
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