The Racism at the Heart of Flint’s Crisis – The New York Times

“An important new report makes clear the principal cause of the water crisis in Flint, Mich.: the state government’s blatant disregard for the lives and health of poor and black residents of a distressed city.

The report released Wednesday by a task force appointed last year by Gov. Rick Snyder to study how Flint’s drinking water became poisoned by lead makes for chilling reading. While it avoids using the word “racism,” it clearly identifies the central role that race and poverty play in this story. “Flint residents, who are majority black or African-American and among the most impoverished of any metropolitan area in the United States, did not enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards as that provided to other communities,” the report said.”

Source: The Racism at the Heart of Flint’s Crisis – The New York Times

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Michigan’s Failure to Protect Flint – The New York Times

“This was a catastrophe caused by failures at every level. A task force appointed in October by the governor put the primary blame on the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, whose director resigned in late December. According to the task force, the state health department apparently had early knowledge about elevated lead levels in the blood of children, but kept silent and did not warn the public. And one or more of the successive emergency managers appointed by Mr. Snyder to control spending in Flint signed off on bad decisions.Continue reading the main storySign Up for the Opinion Today NewsletterEvery weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, The Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.Flint’s problems can be traced to a disastrous decision in 2014 to use water from the Flint River as the city’s primary source of water for a year or two. Flint’s water had for a long time been supplied by the Detroit system with water from Lake Huron. But in an effort to save money, the City Council, in 2013, approved joining a cheaper regional water system that was then still under construction. In the meantime, the city decided to draw its water from the Flint River. The critical decision not to add chemicals to prevent corrosion of the pipes that deliver water to homes and businesses was made at the direction of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.”

Source: Michigan’s Failure to Protect Flint – The New York Times

The Republican Refusal to Aid Flint – The New York Times

“A House oversight committee held a hearing on Wednesday whose purpose was purportedly to identify those responsible for the Flint crisis and determine what could be done to alleviate it. But the committee failed to summon Rick Snyder, the Republican governor of Michigan, whose environmental officials and emergency managers were the ones who made monumental blunders that led the city to draw water from the polluted Flint River without treating it properly. Instead, Republicans heaped blame on the Environmental Protection Agency, which made mistakes but was a bit player in this drama.”

Source: The Republican Refusal to Aid Flint – The New York Times

Flint Weighs Scope of Harm to Children Caused by Lead in Water – The New York Times

“Dr. Hanna-Attisha would waste no time adding King and his sister, Taeyana, to a new database of children under 6 who may have been exposed to lead in Flint’s water, a group she said she believed could number 8,000.Of all the concerns raised by the contamination of Flint’s water supply, and the failure of the state and federal governments to promptly address the crisis after it began nearly two years ago, none are more chilling than the possibility that children in this tattered city may have suffered irreversible damage to their developing brains and nervous systemsfrom exposure to lead.”

Source: Flint Weighs Scope of Harm to Children Caused by Lead in Water – The New York Times

When the Water Turned Brown As every major decision was made over more than a year, officials at all levels of government acted in ways that contributed to the public health emergency in Flint, Mich. nytimes.com|By ABBY GOODNOUGH

This is a long and devastating piece about Watergate in Flint. It starts,
“FLINT, Mich. — Standing at a microphone in September holding up a baby bottle, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a local pediatrician, said she was deeply worried about the water. The number of Flint children with elevated levels of lead in their blood had risen alarmingly since the city changed its water supply the previous year, her analysis showed.

Within hours of Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s news conference, Michigan state officials pushed back — hard. A Department of Health and Human Services official said that the state had not seen similar results and that it was working with a much larger set of data. A Department of Environmental Quality official was quoted as saying the pediatrician’s remarks were “unfortunate,” described the mood over Flint’s water as “near-hysteria” and said, as the authorities had insisted for months, that the water met state and federal standards.”

As every major decision was made over more than a year, officials at all levels of government acted in ways that contributed to the public health emergency in Flint, Mich.
nytimes.com|By ABBY GOODNOUGH