Come January 20th the Flint water crisis will have spanned three presidential administrations as it continues to subject Flint residents to lead-tainted water while providing the rest of us with an object lesson in a government willing to poison the poorest, least-powerful citizens in the interests of saving a few dollars. The latest wrinkle, and one that may give Flint residents and advocates some hope, was the announcement yesterday that charges are going to be filed against former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, as well as other state officials, for their role in bringing lead-tainted water to Flint and then later covering up their actions.
In this Damage Report clip, John and Jayar discuss the charges that have been filed against at least 15 current or former state and city officials and staff members in connection with the crisis, which began when those officials decided to switch the city’s water source from treated Detroit water to the nearby Flint River, run through old, lead-lined pipes. John relates one aspect of the story that has always stuck with him, specifically that after the switch Flint’s GM plant sought out a separate water source because the Flint River water was corroding the factory’s metal engine parts. Yet that same water was deemed acceptable for the predominantly minority residents of Flint to drink.
Jayar points out that while Flint’s mayor says that nearly all of the water lines in Flint have been replaced, residents continue to purchase bottled water because they’ve been lied to so many times by the government and the trust has been irrevocably broken. The society has failed them, he says, and while the charges against Snyder are a positive sign, nothing can be done to erase the long-term, irrevocable harm of lead exposure on the city’s children.