Press Release

Groups Ask Federal Court to Take Emergency Action, As Many Flint Residents Remain Without Safe Drinking Water

Margie Kelly, NRDC, [email protected], 312-651-7935; Darrell Dawsey, ACLU of Michigan, [email protected],
313-578-6831

DETROIT, MI – More than two years into the Flint water crisis, a federal judge will hear arguments today on the need for emergency action on behalf of many Flint residents who remain unable to obtain safe drinking water for their daily needs due to transportation or other access issues. Seeking to secure delivery of safe bottled water to people’s homes, Flint residents, an organization of pastors and national advocacy groups will be in court to ask a federal judge to order city and state officials to ensure all Flint residents can get the safe drinking water they need.

The two-day hearing in a federal courtroom in Detroit will address a motion for preliminary injunction filed by Concerned Pastors for Social Action, Flint resident Melissa Mays, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the ACLU of Michigan in March 2016.

“More needs to be done to ensure everyone has access to safe water—as well as the trust and confidence that their water is safe, a guarantee that most every other community in America has assumed for decades. That is still a long way off in Flint,” said Pastor Allen Overton, a leader of the Concerned Pastors for Social Action. “Churches and volunteer organizations are struggling to keep up with the demand for services – bottled water, filters, and more – as money and volunteers dry up and leave us to fix this mess on our own,” said Pastor Overton.

“For most Americans, getting safe drinking water is as easy as turning on the kitchen faucet. This is still not true in Flint, more than two years after the crisis began.” said Dimple Chaudhary, Senior Attorney with NRDC. “Many residents, including the elderly and those without cars, are struggling to travel to bottled water distribution sites, and confusion remains about how to install and use home faucet filters. This situation will not improve until a federal court steps in to compel state and city officials to act.”

“Without the court ordering the city and state government to deliver bottled water, children, the elderly and the poor in Flint will continue to struggle to find consistent access to clean, safe water,” said Michael Steinberg, Legal Director for the ACLU of Michigan. “It’s unconscionable that, more than two years after the public learned that the water in Flint was poisoned with lead, so many residents still don’t have safe drinking water.”

“It's extremely important that improvements be made on the current recovery ‘efforts’ in Flint made by the City and State of Michigan, said Melissa Mays of Flint. “Residents are still going without access to safe water. Those who do not have reliable transportation or cannot lift a 26.5 pound case of bottled water are slipping through the cracks during such a precarious and dangerous time. This must end,” Mays said.

Preliminary Injunction Hearing:

WHEN: Wednesday, September 14, 8 a.m. ET and Thursday, September 15, 8 a.m. ET. Plaintiffs will present their affirmative case, including fact witnesses and evidence, on September 14.

WHERE:
Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse
Hon. David M. Lawson’s Courtroom
231 W. Lafayette Blvd., Room 716
Detroit, Michigan

Additional materials:
Press Release: Groups Ask Federal Court to Order Home Water Delivery in Flint, As Tap Water Remains Unsafe (March 24, 2016)

Federal Court Gives Green Light to Flint Drinking Water Case: Motions to dismiss case filed by City of Flint, State of Michigan are rejected (July 8, 2016)

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For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. The ACLU of Michigan was officially established in 1959 as part of that mission.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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