Flint Residents Told That Their Children Could Be Taken Away If They Don’t Pay For City’s Poison Water
January 24, 2016
By John Vibes As the water crisis in Flint deepens, it is becoming apparent that the effects of the lead-infested water are not just a health hazard, but the situation has the potential of ruining many more lives outside of the poison issue. There is no denying that the water in Flint is undrinkable and that it is contaminated with lead and other substances, and it is clear that the government of Flint is responsible for the problem. However, the city’s government continues to charge people for the poison water and then threatening to foreclose their home or take their children if they refuse to pay. Michigan law states that parents are neglectful if they do not have running water in their home, and if they chose not to pay for water they can’t drink anyway, then they could be guilty of child endangerment. Activists in Flint say that some residents have already received similar threats from the government if they refuse to pay their bills.
Flint residents have recently filed two class action lawsuits calling for all water bills since April of 2014 to be considered null and void because of the fact that the water was poisonous. “We are seeking for the court to declare that all the bills that have been issued for usage of water invalid because the water has not been fit for its intended purpose,” said Trachelle Young, one of the attorneys bringing the lawsuit said in court. “Essentially, the residents have been getting billed for water that they cannot use. Because of that, we do not feel that is a fair way to treat the residents,” Young added. Recent estimates have indicated that it could take up to 15 years and over $60 million to fix the problem, and the residents will be essentially forced to live there until the problem is solved. Despite the fact that the issue is obviously the government’s responsibility, they have made it illegal for people to sell their homes because of the fact that they are known to carry contaminated water. Meanwhile, residents are still left to purchase bottled water on their own, in addition to paying their water bill.
Although this problem is finally getting national media attention in Flint, they aren’t the only city with contaminated water supplies. In fact, a recent report published by The Guardian showed that public water supplies across the country were experiencing similar issues. This crisis highlights the many dangers of allowing the government to maintain a monopoly on the water supply and calls attention to the fact that decentralized solutions to water distribution should be a goal that we start working towards.
Posted on January 25, 2016 by lozzafun Published: January 24, 2016
Source: Yahoo News
In Flint, Mich., testing has found lead levels of more than 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood in 4 percent of that city’s children. The result is national outrage. In neighborhoods of New Orleans and Boston, New York and Baltimore, across the country in urban pockets much the same size as Flint, those same levels are regularly found in up to 25 percent of children. “That hasn’t been getting the same kind of attention,” says Howard Mielke, a professor in the department of pharmacology of Tulane University whose research includes mapping lead blood levels across urban populations. “Maybe what’s happening in Flint will shine a spotlight on the fact that lead risk is everywhere.” Mielke and other experts agree that the outrage over Flint is well warranted. The fact that the problem was created by one government entity and then ignored by several others makes it particularly heinous, they say. But they would also like to see some of the same call to action for other neighborhoods where Flint-like levels of exposure are the norm. “I think it’s perfectly appropriate to rally around Flint,” says Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician and dean for global health at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. “But people need to realize that Flint is not an isolated example and there are places that are even worse. It’s happening all over the country and it’s tightly tied to race, ethnicity and economic circumstances.” Then he starts ticking off locations: “Central Harlem. Bushwick. Roxbury in Boston. Baltimore is probably the worst. New Orleans, another city that has lead paint and poorly maintained housing.”
Flint Doctor Mona Hanna-Attisha on How She Fought Gov’t Denials to Expose Poisoning of City’s Kids by Triniti · January 25, 2016
Protesters filled the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing on Thursday, calling on Governor Rick Snyder to resign over the contamination crisis his government has caused in the city of Flint’s water. Hours later, Snyder asked President Obama to declare a federal emergency in Flint. Flint residents are dealing not just with lead poisoning, but a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that’s killed 10 people so far. The poisoning began in April 2014 after Darnell Earley, an unelected emergency manager appointed by Snyder, switched Flint’s water source to the long-polluted and corrosive Flint River in a bid to save money. We are joined by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the doctor who helped expose the lead poisoning. Dr. Hanna-Attisha headed a September study that found the proportion of children under five in Flint with elevated lead levels in their blood nearly doubled following the water switch. State officials initially dismissed those findings, but Dr. Hanna-Attisha refused to accept their denials. On Thursday, she was named the head of a new public health initiative to help those exposed to the contamination.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Protests continue in Michigan calling for the resignation of Governor Rick Snyder over the contamination crisis his government has caused in the city of Flint’s water supply. On Thursday, a large crowd rallied inside the state Capitol in Lansing demanding that Snyder step down.
PROTESTER: Don’t let anybody tell you this is just about water. This is about emergency management. This is about greed. This is about political corruption. And he will either resign or be recalled.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The poisoning began in April 2014 after Darnell Earley, an unelected emergency manager appointed by Snyder, switched Flint’s water source to the long-polluted and corrosive Flint River in a bid to save money. For over a year, Flint residents complained about the quality of the water, but their cries were ignored. In February, the government knew of tests showing alarming levels of lead in the water, but officials told residents there was no threat. That same month, an EPA official wrote an email to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality warning about lead contamination. No action was taken. Then in July, Governor Snyder’s chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, wrote an email to health officials admitting Flint residents were, quote, “basically getting blown off by us,” unquote. Critics say Flint’s health was ignored due to the political calculations of Snyder’s Republican administration. One of the poorest cities in the country, Flint has a 40 percent poverty rate and a majority African-American population. AMY GOODMAN: Flint residents now face the threat of a major health crisis, whose full effects won’t be known for years. Lead can cause permanent health impacts, including memory loss, developmental impairment, irreversible brain damage, speech issues, serious chronic conditions, especially among children. At least 10 Flint residents now have also died from Legionnaires’ disease amidst a surge in infections caused by the water-borne bacteria. Experts say the Legionnaires’ outbreak may be tied to the contamination. A study released in September found the proportion of children under five in Flint with elevated levels of lead in their blood nearly doubled following the water switch. State officials initially dismissed those findings. But the doctor who discovered them, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, refused to accept the state’s denials. County officials finally acknowledged the problem by declaring a public health emergency October 1st. On Thursday, Dr. Hanna-Attisha was named the head of a new public health initiative to help those exposed to the contamination. We’re joined now by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, director of the pediatric residency program at Hurley Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Michigan State University. This is truly astounding, Dr. Mona, as you are known. Can you talk about when you realized that especially children were being contaminated by lead, and how the state responded? DR. MONA HANNA–ATTISHA: Yeah. So, in late August, we were hearing reports from the Virginia Tech group that there was lead in the water. And when pediatricians hear about lead anywhere, we freak out. We know lead. Lead, as you said, is a known potent, irreversible neurotoxin. So we wanted to see if that lead in the water was getting into the bodies of children. So that’s when we started doing our research. And what we found was alarming, but not surprising, based on what we knew about the water. The percentage of children with elevated lead levels tripled in the whole city, and in some neighborhoods—actually, it doubled in the whole city, and in some neighborhoods, it tripled. And it directly correlated with where the water lead levels were the highest. So we shared these results at a press conference, and you don’t usually share research at press conferences. It’s supposed to be shared in published medical journals, which now it is. But we had an ethical, moral, professional responsibility to alert our community about this crisis, this emergency. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the research that you did, all it took was being able to go back in your own— DR. MONA HANNA–ATTISHA: Yeah. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —medical records. And it wasn’t a series of new testing that you had to do. Could you talk about that? DR. MONA HANNA–ATTISHA: Right. So, we routinely screen children for lead at the ages of one and at ages of two. Medicaid children, who are on public insurance, are recommended to get lead screenings. So we had the data. It was the easiest research project I have ever done. So all we did was go back and look at our data. And we compared the percentage of children with elevated lead levels before the water switch, which was 2013, to 2015, and that water switch happened in 2014. AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about what happened after you held your news conference.
DR. MONA HANNA–ATTISHA: Well, that evening, we were attacked. So I was called an “unfortunate researcher,” that I was causing near hysteria, that I was splicing and dicing numbers, and that the state data was not consistent with my data. And as a scientist, as a researcher, as a professional, you double-check and you triple-check, and the numbers didn’t lie. And we knew that. But when the state, with a team of like 50 epidemiologists, tells you you’re wrong, you second-guess yourself. But that lasted just a short period, and we regrouped and told them why, “No, you were wrong.” And after about a week and a half or two weeks, after some good conversations, they relooked at their numbers and finally said that the state’s findings were consistent with my findings. AMY GOODMAN: You have bust this thing right open. And you were standing behind the governor and his people just the other day in a news conference of—you’ve been named head of—well, you can tell us what you’ve been named head of. But as they read the figures of people who were contaminated, you were shaking your head “no,” right there in the frame, standing behind the government health officials. You were supposed to be standing with them, and you were shaking your head “no.” DR. MONA HANNA–ATTISHA: Yes. So, I am willing to work with anybody for the benefit of children, and I was at that press conference with the governor and with state health officials, who we are working with now. However, they said that only 43 people since October had elevated lead levels. And it really minimizes this population-wide exposure. This is an entire population who was exposed to this neurotoxin. So when you say these small numbers, it just—once again, the population loses trust in government and in their ability to protect people.
EPA head in charge of Flint resigns as Obama pledges $80 million for poisoned water crisis
Posted on January 25, 2016 by lozzafun
President Barack Obama announced his administration is giving $80 million to help repairs Flint’s water infrastructure and make the drinking water safe, calling the situation “inexcusable.” The head of Michigan’s Environmental Protection Agency resigned. “We’re going to have that funding available to you by the end of next week, and that includes $80 million for the state of Michigan,” Obama told a gathering of mayors at the White House on Thursday, according to the Detroit News. “Our children should not have to be worried about the water that they’re drinking in American cities. That’s not something that we should accept.”
BREAKING: CBS announces Pres Obama has increased water aid to Flint from $5 million to $80 million. Thanks to all who’ve signed my petition. — Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 22, 2016
Obama said the money would come from the recent bipartisan budget allocated to help cities build water infrastructure, and would be separate from the $5 million already allocated to the state through an emergency declaration Obama made on Saturday. The allocation is also separate from the money sought by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in his appeal letter to the president on Wednesday, asking Obama to reconsider on his lack of support for major disaster relief. “It was encouraging to hear President Obama say that $80 million will be coming to Michigan to help local governments, like the City of Flint, improve their water systems,” Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said in a statement from Washington, DC, according to the Detroit News. “The residents of Flint could benefit greatly from that type of money. We are waiting to see how much of the $80 million will be allocated to the City of Flint and how much of it will go elsewhere, but it’s a step in the right direction.” Michigan’s Legislature is fast-tracking $28 million in state funds, which are intended to buy more bottled water and filters. The money is also supposed to be used to back health and educational services for children with elevated levels of lead in their blood. Meanwhile, the regional head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Michigan, Susan Hedman, announced her resignation on Thursday. She has been accused of not doing enough to prevent the contaminated water crisis.
.@EPA‘s region 5 admin, Susan Hedman, has resigned effective Feb. 1, per EPA — Timothy Cama (@Timothy_Cama) January 21, 2016
Hedman told the Detroit News last week that her office knew in April 2015 that Flint’s decision to switch to the Flint River for its water supply “could increase pipe corrosion and spiked lead levels.” She did not take any public action, instead choosing to try and pressure Michigan officials to address the situation internally. Dan Wyant, director of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality, already resigned in December for his role in the crisis. Emails released by Governor Snyder on Wednesday showed that his staff and the environmental agency spent months last year pointing fingers at local and federal offices for the lead problem as they downplayed concerns. The EPA also sent a letter to Snyder Thursday officially declaring that Flint is violating federal drinking water rules, and must work quickly to fix them. EPA head Gina McCarthy said the agency “is deeply concerned by continuing delays and lack of transparency and has determined that the actions required by the order … are essential to ensuring the safe operation of Flint’s drinking water system and the protection of public health,” according to the Hill. https://www.youtube.com/embed/IwtUzVu7byc Via RT.
People Over Politics: Michigan Militia Joins Michael Moore to Protest Flint Water Crisis
Posted on January 25, 2016 by lozzafun
Posted: January 24, 2016
An unlikely left-right coalition.
By Carey Wedler Source: Anti-Media The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has inspired an unlikely partnership: a local militia group is coordinating with outspoken liberal filmmaker Michael Moore to demand accountability and clean water for residents. Moore, a Flint native who first gained notoriety for his his documentary on the town’s economic hardships, has spoken out against the state and local government’s negligent handling of the disaster. The high volume of lead in public water supplies has contaminated children’s blood and led Flint’s mayor to declare a state of emergency. The crisis has drawn widespread attention and outrage. At a rally on January 16, Michael Moore said, “I am standing in the middle of a crime scene. Ten people have been killed … because of a decision to save money.” The city’s water supply was changed from Detroit’s water supply to the Flint River in 2014… View original post 709 more words