Echo’s Wilson on Flint’s water

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By Courtney Bourgoin

Gary Wilson

Gary Wilson

Great Lakes Echo commentator Gary Wilson says that state agencies are not the only ones to blame for the Flint water crisis.

The Environmental Protection Agency also was slow to respond to reports of lead in the water, Wilson recently told Western Michigan University’s WestSouthwest radio show on 102.1 WMUK.

For three months, the federal agency ignored petitions from Natural Resource Defense Council monitors who called for intervention, Wilson said. Experience with the Toledo water crisis caused by Lake Erie pollution should have prompted quicker federal action.

“That’s two strikes against the EPA here on safe drinking water,” Wilson said. “That’s not a good record.”

Wilson says the “turf wars” and “not-my-job” approach revealed a lack of leadership at multiple levels of government– one that failed a major Michigan city. Full interview.

3 thoughts on “Echo’s Wilson on Flint’s water

  1. Gary Wilson brings astute observation, enough that the direction we need to take is in the observation itself. It seems to me, that the first and foremost important step is for the governments, as trustees of the public’s water, especially when providing delivery of water to its people, in this case the people of Flint, to set up a trust fund to cover all reimbursement, all medical tracking and monitoring, all medical expense, and all remedial, restorative and assurance of safe drinking water immediately and in the future. In sort, governments and leaders, starting with Governor Snyder and the EPA Administrator, should drop any defensiveness and delay, and pony up for all losses, costs, and damages for each person who has been affected. This should be done to maximum in good faith and without lawsuits that provide full relief to make each person and the city whole.

    Only when the above is done, should the US Attorneys’ office or special prosecutor launch an investigation through grand jury powers to find out what happened, what was known, who did what and whether or not criminal charges should be filed.

    By the way, the relief requested for Flint should cover Flint and Detroit, where poor residents continue to suffer shut-offs and the harm and risks that presents to their health and safety, for water they cannot afford.

    Finally, the emergency manager structure in Michigan and in both Flint and Detroit must be dismantled, and governance restored, as imperfect and muddled representative government can be, it’s the hallmark of democracy and assuring the voice of the common good.

  2. Besides helping people there get decent water and to mitigate any effects of the poisoning, if possible, people need to focus on criminally prosecuting Snyder and the DEQ officials for assault, battery, child abuse and possibly fraud.. Snyder’s Chief of Staff’s email saying they were “blowing off” a known substantial and serious risk of harm to children is an ADMISSION that they had the culpable state of mind for their criminal activity, prior to his email. His failure to warn people not to drink the water — failing to provide a warning and take other appropriate action in a timely and reasonable manner is further evidence of criminal activity, post-email, along with the admission, that evidences he had knowledge. A serious focus by qualified criminal lawyers and prosecutors should be raising this issue so that the opportunity for an appropriate criminal remedy is not lost in all the anger and questions. A civil lawsuit is not enough. It will simply lead to money damages being paid out by taxpayers. A criminal remedy will deter future conduct by other officials and vindicate the serious injustice needlessly perpetrated on our fellow Americans in Flint, especially the children.

  3. Leaching lead from pipes and solder (as in many especially older cities) has been known for a long time. What is amazing that, when water companies switch their water source, they not automatically test also the water’s corrossion index. The question here is, was that done or not done, and if it was done, what was the result? Only then is it possible to allocate blame for lack of action to additional treat this water for corrosion.

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