Michigan Governor’s Decision to End Bottled Water for Flint Deeply Troubling

WASHINGTON, DC –  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder today announced that the state would stop providing free bottled water to Flint residents. Flint’s tap water contamination crisis was created by city and state government decisions that caused lead to leach out from aging pipes into Flint homes. 

The following is the reaction of Erik Olson, Director of Health for the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“The people of Flint deserve better. Governor Snyder’s decision to stop supplying bottled water to Flint residents is disappointing. It’s deeply troubling that the state is willing to give free water to Nestle and other corporations but not its own people, who they poisoned.” 


In January 2016, NRDC and its local partners sued the City of Flint and Michigan state officials, seeking to secure safe drinking water for Flint residents. Fourteen months later, the government agreed to replace lead service lines and institute a transparent and effective lead-monitoring system. 

While not legally obligated to continue providing free water under the lead settlement after certain lead levels were achieved, the state has not yet addressed the community’s full array of water safety concerns, which go beyond lead. These worries are especially acute in the wake of the Legionella outbreak that reportedly contributed to a dozen or more deaths and has been linked by experts to Flint’s tap water.

Earlier this week the state of Michigan greenlighted Nestle’s permit to pump 500,000 gallons of Michigan groundwater per day at virtually no cost for its bottled water business. Yet days later the state announced it would no longer give Flint residents safe bottled water.

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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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