Flint Hearing Reinforces Need for Federal Court to Restore Safe Drinking Water

WASHINGTON, DC (March 17, 2016) – The second congressional hearing of the week on the Flint water crisis showcased Michigan Governor Snyder and EPA Administrator McCarthy laying blame for the disaster at each other’s feet today.

On October 1 of last year, NRDC and its partners petitioned the EPA to take emergency action to intervene in Flint to secure safe drinking water. The agency failed to respond until January 2016.

Following is reaction to today’s hearing from NRDC Midwest Director Henry Henderson:

“The House hearing on Flint confirmed that government isn’t the problem, BAD government is the problem.

“Everything I heard today reinforces our call for federal court oversight to restore clean, safe drinking water for the people of Flint, as both the state and EPA have proved they cannot solve the contaminated water problem left on their own. Trashed lead pipes are still delivering poisoned water. Access to bottled water and services are limited and unreliable, making it especially difficult for those with few financial resources and little access to transportation.

“It is an utter shame that petty politics have delayed passage of the aid bill for Flint. Instead of devoting another minute to squabbling over the assignment of blame which attaches indelibly to officials at every level of government, Congress should act immediately to provide the funding needed to overhaul the City’s woeful infrastructure and serve the people who have been harmed.

“The untold story is that the Republican leadership is responsible in significant part for the mess in Michigan. The incessant attacks on the EPA have created an environment that chills the agency from taking necessary action to protect the public, while congressional Republicans’ unwillingness to properly fund infrastructure abetted the rise of this situation. Many on the House Oversight Committee have made a career of pillorying the agency. Despite assuming the moral high ground today, those Members who exalted in ongoing attacks on EPA have contributed to the agency becoming inappropriately hesitant in utilizing its power and authority to protect people from environmental harms.”

Henderson blogged on the hearings this week at https://medium.com/natural-resources-defense-council/flint-is-not-fixed-eebc1c8a315e#.u8sm9lnxx

Information on NRDC’s Flint lawsuit, filed in conjunction with the ACLU of Michigan, Concerned Pastors for Social Change and Flint resident Melissa Mays can be found at http://www.nrdc.org/media/2016/160127

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