Flint Is Not Fixed
And the congressional hearings should reflect that.
This week, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform is holding two hearings on the mess in Michigan. I expect we will hear more of the same from the folks who created this disaster when they testify in D.C.: tepid admissions that mistakes were made, lots of finger-pointing, as well as a steady diet of assertions that things are way better on the ground now and will soon be fixed for all.
Except they are not.
My colleagues have been in Flint a great deal this year, especially in recent weeks. Meeting with residents. Meeting with our clients and litigation partners. And talking with the advocates who have been filling the massive hole left by the city, state, and Feds. Make no mistake, for many in Flint, things are no better. The damaged lead pipes are still delivering poisoned water. Access to bottled water and services are very limited and uncertain for some, especially for those with limited means and limited access to transportation.
So when the people who created the mess in Michigan say things are covered, don’t buy it.
These are the same folks who ignored concerns from the people of Flint for two years — or belittled their demands for action.
It’s the same crew that’s been so busy arguing that it couldn’t get around to addressing tests for the bacteria connected with a Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak —which killed nine and sickened the better part of 100 — or alerting the public to the danger (nearby Wayne State University has had to step in to do the testing).
Things are not fixed in Flint, and I am not convinced they will be as long as the same brain trust is running the show.
This is why our lawsuit — filed with ACLU of Michigan, Concerned Pastors for Social Action, and Flint residents — calls for federal court oversight for the effort to finally get clean water back into town for everyone and start fixing the water pipes. Chances are, the hearing will leave many thinking the same thing.
Take action to help in Flint: Tell Governor Snyder to take quick action to restore clean drinking water; tell your Senators to support aid packages that would rebuild the town’s water system; and tell the Obama administration that more needs to be done to get lead out of our water nationally.