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Fri Jan 22, 2016, 02:23 PM

The EPA’s Silent, Guilty Role in the Flint Water Crisis

"The EPA didn’t act as urgently and as transparently as it could have to help the people of Flint—something it has acknowledged only grudgingly." -- Rebecca Leber, reporting for The New Republic



The EPA’s Silent, Guilty Role in the Flint Water Crisis

Michigan's governor has borne the brunt of the blame, but there's plenty to go around.


BY REBECCA LEBER
The New Republic, January 22, 2016

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in recent weeks has come under intense pressure over the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which was precipitated two years ago when his administration, in an effort to cut costs, changed the city’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The move led to a dangerous increase in lead in the water supply; just 5 parts per billion is cause for concern, especially for children, but Flint’s tap water has had five times that amount. And yet, officials insisted until late last fall that the water was safe for its 100,000 residents to drink.

SNIP...

It was only once Flint became a national story, and Snyder and President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency, that the EPA admitted its initial response was too slow. Residents and the American Civil LIberties Union were still petitioning the EPA to act in October, long after the agency first became aware of potential problems.

In April 2014, Flint’s residents, the majority of whom are black, were assured by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that “the quality of the water being put out meets all of our drinking water standards and Flint water is safe to drink.” The EPA didn’t know something was amiss until February 2015. Miguel Del Toral, a water expert with the EPA Region 5 office, noted in February that Flint’s water wasn’t being treated for lead since the switch to Flint River and that state tests were understating the problems, according to documents obtained by the ACLU.

Del Toral raised two main concerns: The water wasn’t being treated properly and the testing showing the water was safe was inaccurate. “I’m worried that the whole town may have much higher lead levels than the compliance results indicated,” Del Toral warned in an April memo to DEQ, which was summarized in the email batch released Wednesday.

CONTINUED...

https://newrepublic.com/article/128156/epas-silent-guilty-role-flint-water-crisis

Did the federal and state government hope no one would notice if no one in authority was paying attention?

11 replies, 1725 views

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply The EPA’s Silent, Guilty Role in the Flint Water Crisis (Original post)
Octafish Jan 2016 OP
rusty fender Jan 2016 #1
Octafish Jan 2016 #2
rusty fender Jan 2016 #3
Nye Bevan Jan 2016 #5
SickOfTheOnePct Jan 2016 #9
Octafish Jan 2016 #10
smirkymonkey Jan 2016 #4
Octafish Jan 2016 #6
smirkymonkey Jan 2016 #7
Octafish Jan 2016 #8
Mary Mac Mar 2016 #11

Response to Octafish (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 02:30 PM

1. it's disheartning

I guess that Rick Snyder was right, after all, about the Fed. gov't failing the citizens of Flint.

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Response to rusty fender (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 02:34 PM

2. Not exactly. His administration was telling EPA that ''all is well.''

They lied.

Feb. 27, 2015: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality reported to EPA that it had an "optimized corrosion control plan" in place.

Timeline from Michigan Public Radio: http://michiganradio.org/post/timeline-heres-how-flint-water-crisis-unfolded#stream/0

You are correct, rusty fender. It is disheartening.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 02:42 PM

3. Thanks for the correction!

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Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 04:35 PM

5. Nope. The EPA should not be taking Republican governors at their word.

They needed to go there and do their own independent tests. Just calling people up, being told "yeah, all's good here", and blindly believing them, is not enough.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 05:52 PM

9. Exactly

And even worse, when the EPA knew there were issues with the water, they didn't nothing while they waited for a report to be finalized.

Lots of blame to go around here.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 06:34 PM

10. After blowing the whistle on Flint's water, EPA “rogue employee” has been silent. Until now.

by Lindsey Smith
Michigan Public Radio, Jan. 22, 2016

I’ve been trying to interview the EPA’s Miguel Del Toral since early July, 2015, when a copy of his interim report on high lead levels in Flint’s water landed in my inbox.

The preliminary draft report should not have been released outside the agency,” Hedman wrote to then-Flint Mayor Dayne Walling after the ACLU’s investigative reporter, Curt Guyette, asked city officials about it. The report was a “preliminary draft” she wrote, adding, “it would be premature to draw any conclusions based on that draft.”

The draft report details hazardous waste levels of lead in Lee Anne Walters’ home. In it, Del Toral raises serious red flags about the lack of corrosion control treatment, something that’s required under federal rules.is report was the first time any official had publicly implied that there could be a serious lead problem in Flint’s water. But back then, because the report wasn’t finalized, the EPA wouldn’t talk about it with the media.

Behind the scenes, Del Toral’s boss, EPA’s Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman, apologized about the way the report was leaked to the press. Hedman announced this afternoon she’d submitted her resignation.

CONTINUED w links, audio...

http://michiganradio.org/post/after-blowing-whistle-flints-water-epa-rogue-employee-has-been-silent-until-now#stream/0

I hope the way whistleblowers are treated by the US Government gets addressed in the coming days.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 04:31 PM

4. K&R

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 05:14 PM

6. Democrat Andy Dillon, then State Treasurer, signed off on the water switch.

The memos Snyder released say Dillon was the official who made the call to OK the switch to Flint River water.

Dillon said he thought Flint wouldn't be using the water to drink. Honest.

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2016/01/former_michigan_state_treasure.html

Important for DUers and Democrats to know:

After failing to win the Democratic nomination to oppose Snyder in the gubernatorial campaign of 2010, he failed to support the Democratic nominee, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. So, Dillon was invited to serve as State Treasurer.



Ex-rival Andy Dillon slights Virg Bernero

Mich. Democrat leaders: Party is unified


by Chris Christoff
Detroit Free Press,August 7, 2010

House Speaker Andy Dillon was drubbed in the Democratic gubernatorial primary by television ads that portrayed him as a greedy Wall Street raider who opposes a woman's right to choose abortion.

Then he was drubbed by rival Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero in Tuesday's election.

Friday, a visibly relieved Dillon smiled and said he was ready to work for Democrats in the fall campaign.

But he caused a buzz by not endorsing Bernero in front of about 200 Democrats assembled in downtown Detroit for a post-election unity breakfast.

"I want to make certain some of the things I was fighting for are going to be embraced," he told reporters afterward. "Then we'll get there. We don't have to decide that today."

He added, "It's not a slap. We just got done with a campaign. I'm going to take a vacation. We'll sort it out when I come back."


It was another enigmatic move from a politician who has become an iconoclast to some fellow Democrats, scorned by some union leaders as too cozy with business and too frosty with organized labor, and criticized as a legislative leader.

CONTINUED...

http://archive.freep.com/article/20100807/NEWS15/8070314/Ex-rival-Andy-Dillon-slights-Virg-Bernero



From there, he got to be the water decider. Loyalty to the Almighty Dollar is Buy Partisan. Heckuva job, Andy.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 05:15 PM

7. Yeah, right he didn't.

Let me guess, Andy is white.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 05:46 PM

8. A paler shade of Wall Street.

And because he's a Democrat, the right wingers running the Detroit News editorial page have determined he is to blame:


Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder was advised in late September that the state bore responsibility for Flint’s water problems because former state Treasurer Andy Dillon made “the ultimate decision” to let the city leave the Detroit system, according to emails released Wednesday.

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/01/20/snyder-flint-emails/79062418/


They don't mention the level of corruption above him: Gov. Snyder answers the people who own Wall Street -- the big money trusts feeding off the DeVos, Koch and other family fortunes. Hey! They're all white, too. What a coincidence.

ETA: Wanted to mention the lack of interest displayed by the "legitimate" news media in Detroit and Lansing to Flint's water crisis. The way it's playing out, the bastards in Lansing and Washington must have thought no one would cover the story. Only a few reporters -- Curt Guyette at ACLU of Michigan/nee Metro Times being one -- kept the story going.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Thu Mar 17, 2016, 09:55 PM

11. pbs.

The researchers at Va Tech lay plenty of blame on the EPA tonight. And say this is a universal problem in old cities. We need to replace billions worth of lead pipes.

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