EPA launches federal civil rights investigation over Jackson water crisis
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A man holds a bottle of a disinfectant used to clean out the water in the Jackson water crisis in Flint, Michigan, on September 19, 2014. (Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
By Lisa Lerer, New York Post
September 25, 2014
A few days into the crisis, the water in Flint was turning brown – a symptom of lead in the water. It is a sign of toxicity that most can detect. Even in the hospital, where the water is clean, people were vomiting and experiencing weakness. Many were worried about the health of their loved ones in there.
The problem in Flint is simple: It is a water system that could handle the city’s water for decades. But that is not what is making the disaster worse. It is the government’s decision to remove a federal water quality control agency that was supposed to serve as a watchdog for the system.
With the removal, the city of 30,000 had no oversight and no control over the distribution of its water – which is why it took the deaths of more than 13 people to make the water crisis a national crisis.
On Monday, President Barack Obama was forced to issue an emergency declaration when the federal government was forced to shut down for the third day due a lack of federal funds. But it is too little too late.
A federal investigation is underway to see how much the government needs to fix the problem. And the city will most likely be forced to begin pumping the water out of the city and into the Flint River, which will only lead to more health crisis.
The federal government is asking the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to review and address the health issues in the city.
“The Detroit River is no longer Flint’s drinking water supply,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. “It is Flint’s drinking river.”
McQuade spoke during a press briefing Monday. She added that the city’s water is safe if it isn’t contaminated with lead. But that is a question she will have to answer for herself.
At a press briefing held