Congressional Hearings Should Reflect That Flint Is Not Fixed

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Congressional Hearings Should Reflect That Flint Is Not Fixed

"When the people who created the mess in Michigan say things are covered, don't buy it." (Photo: jmogs via Flickr)

This week the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform is holding two hearings on the mess in Michigan. I expect we will hear more of the same from the folks who created this disaster when they testify in DC: tepid admissions that mistakes were made, lots of finger pointing as well as a steady diet of assertions that things are way better on the ground now and will soon be fixed for all.

Except that they are not...

My colleagues have been in Flint a great deal this year, especially in the recent weeks. Meeting with residents. Meeting with our clients and litigation partners. And talking with the advocates who have been filling the massive left by the city, state and Feds. Make no mistake, for many in Flint, things are no better. The trashed lead pipes are still delivering poisoned water. Access to bottled water and services are very limited and uncertain for some, especially for those with limited means and limited access to transportation.

"Things are not fixed in Flint and I am not convinced that they will be as long as the same brain trust is running the show."
So when the people who created the mess in Michigan say things are covered, don't buy it.

These are the same folks who ignored concerns from the people of Flint for two years--or belittled their demands for action.

It's the same crew that has been so busy arguing, that they couldn't get around to addressing tests for the bacteria connected with a Legionnaire's Disease outbreak that killed 9 and sickened the better part of 100, and alerting the public to the danger (nearby Wayne State University has had to step in to do the testing).

Things are not fixed in Flint and I am not convinced that they will be as long as the same brain trust is running the show.

This is why our lawsuit, filed with ACLU of Michigan, Concerned Pastors for Social Action and Flint residents, calls for federal court oversight for the effort to finally get clean water back into town for everyone, and start fixing the water pipes. Chances are, the hearing will leave many thinking the same thing.

Henry Henderson

Henry Henderson is the director of NRDC's Midwest office, which opened in Chicago in 2007.

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