Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 3.53.50 PMThe Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit on Wednesday that would force officials in Flint, Michigan to swap out all lead pipes in the city with safer replacements. The suit alleges that the current plumbing system violates the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, according to the Associated Press, due to “a failure to properly treat the water for corrosion, test it for lead, notify residents of results and accurately report if the correct sample sites are being selected.” Michigan’s state Treasurer Nick Khouri along with officials on the Flint’s Receivership Transition Advisory Board and city administrator Natasha Henderson were named in the suit. The water’s toxicity, thanks to swapping Flint’s water supply from Detroit’s embattled system to the nearby Flint River in 2014, has led to lead poisoning and possibly Legionnaires’ disease in a number of Flint residents.

“The only way to permanently and completely fix the problem of lead in drinking water is to conduct the full replacement of the lead-containing pipes and solder in a water system,” said Sarah Tallman, a lawyer with the National Resources Defense Council.

Governor Rick Snyder says replacing the city’s pipes would cost at least $55 million. For now, Flint residents have been reconnected to Detroit’s water supply until a new path to Lake Huron is created. However, if the new water is flowing through contaminated pipes, it’s highly debatable that anything has really been fixed.

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  • This is an emergency and a national crisis. When Flint residents (among men, women, and children) suffered this direct poisoning, it is also an attack against every American and against the rest of the human family. We know that Flint is heavily black and a lot of poor people live in Flint too. The responsibility for this disaster is found not only in the Governor, but in state officials involved in this tragedy. A federal lawsuit should exist. The pipes in Flint are poisoned and corrosive, therefore they ought to be replaced ASAP. Billions of dollars have been spent in the military industrial complex where bombs kill and maim human beings, but some people refuse to send millions of dollars to repair and rebuild the infrastructure of the city of Flint. Also, this incident represents how the corporate oligarchy refuses to care for the lives of black people. Emergency managers use their anti-democratic powers to dominate the lives of people in Michigan. Two officials of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the regional head of the Environmental Protection Agency have resigned in disgrace.

    The DEQ failed to instruct the Flint water department to add anti-corrosive chemicals to the water when Flint stopped using water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and began tapping into the polluted Flint River. Governor Rick Snyder is a reactionary Republican who fought against workers’ rights. Elevated levels of lead have been found in certain areas of Baltimore, Boston, including counties in Texas plus Louisiana. This week, the head environmental regulator in the state of Ohio called national water regulations “broken,” saying that they dramatically understate the true scale of lead poisoning in American cities.

    Many pipes in certain places of America are over 100 years old and austerity can’t solve this problem. According to the Congressional Budget Office, public capital investment in transportation and water infrastructure, already underfunded for decades, has been slashed by 23 percent since its peak in 2003. Laissez faire capitalism is never a solution as Bobby Seale, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Fannie Lou Hamer, and other revolutionaries have taught us. Flint residents should not be paying for poisoned water. Snyder and others ought to be arrested for their nefarious actions. Having water is a human right and we want racial justice. This is a class struggle. We want the forces of oligarchy and exploitation to end their reign of oppression. We also want environmental justice too.

    • Chazz A

      Tell it!

    • Thank you Brother.

    • Chazz A

      You’re welcome brother Truth, good post!

    • Right on. It is very important to learn about these issues. Lead is a neurotoxin that can cause life damaging harm to children, etc. That is why so many people have expressed outrage at the actions of the authorities in Flint.

    • Chazz A

      No doubt. My biggest concern in this entire mess is the harm that it will cause the young children. This is criminal no matter which angle we view it!

    • I agree with you.

  • trueletterson*[email protected]

    well I need to research what company is producing the new water pipes, so I can invest in there stock because all over America there are many cities with water pipes well over 100 years old.