Senate Finally Authorizes Aid for Flint, While House Ignores Americans in Need

Congressional Inaction Delays Fix to Lead Problems in Michigan and Across the Country

WASHINGTON – The Senate passed a bill containing long-awaited federal aid for Flint, MI more than two years after the emergence of the beleaguered city’s water crisis. Action in the House of Representatives does not appear imminent.

NRDC was in federal court this week with Flint residents and the ACLU of Michigan calling for emergency action to give people in the city access to safe water.

Following is a statement from NRDC Midwest Director Henry Henderson:

“The Senate has at long last taken the first steps towards addressing the contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan: a public health disaster and a national embarrassment. But it looks like the House of Representatives continues to show no urgency in helping Americans who have literally been poisoned by their government.

“In a governing body that has utterly failed the people of Flint, one representative’s lack of action is particularly conspicuous. Fred Upton, a Congressman from Michigan, leads the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee oversees implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. He should have been in the forefront of pushing for federal action when the Flint Water Crisis emerged years ago, and now needs to start taking action on behalf of his fellow Michiganders.

“We need to get the lead out of Flint. And it needs to happen fast. But that is not enough. Lead in drinking water is a national problem that needs to be treated as such. It is time to get the lead out nationally.”

Earlier this year, NRDC released a groundbreaking report showing more than 18 million Americans were served by water systems with violations of the EPA's lead and copper rule under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Shockingly, Flint still does not appear in EPA data for drinking water violations, a tipoff that the problem of lead-contaminated water is likely much, much broader than previously understood. The aid package for Flint also includes hundreds of millions of dollars to deal with lead pipe replacement and public health challenges in cities across America struggling with water infrastructure issues.

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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, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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