It appears the poisoned water situation in Flint just got a whole lot worse for (hopefully soon to be indicted) Governor Rick Snyder. Residents of Flint, Michigan, have been forced to drink, cook and bathe in poisoned water for almost two years now. Throughout this entire disgusting situation, state officials have told the residents that the water was totally safe, a statement that we now know was a complete and utter lie. In fact, the water is poisoned with lead. Kids are testing positive for extremely high levels of lead in their blood, people are suffering from rashes on their bodies and there are reports of Legionnaires Disease.
Detroit Free Press reports that the liberal group Progress Michigan gained access to state government emails today which show that going back as far as January of 2015, employees in the Flint’s State Office Building were being given purified water to drink. But wait, the state officials were telling the residents that the tap water was completely safe for them to drink all the way until October 2015? So they knew this was a complete lie.
Progress Michigan reports that a notice from Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB), dated January 7, 2015, states the following:
“While the City of Flint states that corrective actions are not necessary, DTMB is in the process of providing a water cooler on each occupied floor, positioned near the water fountain, so you can choose which water to drink. The coolers will arrive today and will be provided as long as the public water does not meet treatment requirements.”
This proves that state officials were aware that the water was not safe to consume. They can’t deny it anymore. The employees were told that “the public water does not meet treatment requirements.” They saw the disgusting poisoned water coming from the water fountains and complained, but their complaints were addressed, where as the residents complaints were not. They employees were given the “choice” of water where as the poor residents of Flint were told blatant lies. How much clearer does it need to be? This water was not safe. Not safe for employees, residents, children, adults, pets…anyone!
In January 2015, Detroit Free Press reports that going back as far as August and September of 2014, the city of Flint issued three “boil water advisories” after detecting high levels of coliform bacteria in the water. And in December 2014, the residents received additional notices that there were high levels of a disinfectant called trihalomethane in the water. Even after these numerous incidents, Snyder continued to lie to the residents and say the water was completely safe. The residents protested but were told repeatedly that the water was safe.
The water source was finally switched back to Lake Huron in October of 2015. On January 5, 2016 Snyder finally declared a state of emergency. For almost two years Flint residents were being forced to bathe in and drink poisoned water, water that he knew was contaminated. He did nothing. He continued to assert that he knew nothing about the water being poisoned until October 2015. Snyder called in the Michigan National Guard to begin handing out bottled water and filters to the residents in mid-January 2016.
Mother Jones reports that Lonnie Scott of Progress Michigan said that the newly released emails:
“blow a hole in the governor’s timeline for when they knew or started to have concerns about Flint water. They were helping state employees while telling everyone else that there was nothing to worry about.”
It’s becoming clear that Governor Snyder was fully aware of the contamination and public health issue being presented in Flint, but his only concern was for government employees, and not the residents of the city. While administration told the residents the disgusting, smelly, brown water was safe to drink, they provided an alternative water source for their employees in the same town. Why do that if the water is safe? Clearly this is a whole bunch of bullshit being fed to the residents and media, in the hopes that no one would really care and it would go away. But emails don’t lie and these are date stamped and show that Snyder is a big fat liar.
Unfortunately, the damage has already been done. Residents are sick, children have been poisoned, pipes have been corroded and are in need of replacement. Governor Snyder poisoned an entire city and no one noticed for almost two years. Would the response have been different had the residents been middle to upper class and white?
I hope Governor Snyder finds himself in a prison cell, forced to drink Flint poisoned water for the entirety of his sentence.
Image: MML / Flickr.