Down With Snyder:

Flint’s Water Crisis


Documentary filmmaker and Flint, Mich. native, Michael Moore, wants to see Gov. Rick Snyder arrested for poisoning Flint’s water./Photo courtesy of Michael Moore via Facebook

If you dip your hand twice in a river, the water is never the same.

Unless you live in Flint, Michigan, and polluted water runs through your rivers and your faucet every day.

This whole problem started back in 2014 when Flint’s Emergency Manager, Darnell Earley, completed the plan to switch the source of the city’s drinking water from the clean and clear fresh water of the Detroit piping system to the local river water.

Since then, Flint residents have publicly complained about the poor quality of the water and  increasing side effects from drinking it such as high blood pressure, hair loss and skin rashes.

Turns out, unless you want to endanger the lives of the people you are trusted to govern, your water pipes better be ready to make the switch. Flint’s were not.

That is exactly what the Flint emergency managers and Gov. Rick Snyder should be held responsible for: poisoning the public with water, something no human being can live without.

According to a report from Mother Jones and several other news outlets, the water coming from Flint River was so polluted even General Motors had to stop using it in their plants. It was corroding engine parts. In Julia Lurie’s article, “A Toxic Timeline of Flint’s Water Fiasco,” the  government of Flint issued a statement telling residents, “its water contains high levels of trihalomethanes, by-products of water-disinfectant chemicals.” The statement continued, “over time, these byproducts can cause kidney, liver, and nervous system damage. Sick and elderly people may be at risk…but the water is otherwise safe to consume.”

I can understand that in a time of debt and poverty, desperate times call for desperate measures. Flint is a city with a notably impoverished population and, being the neighbor to the bankrupt capital of the state, it shares in the debt amassed from Detroit.

That being said, following through with an untested plan to replace the source to one of the fundamental necessities for living is extremely naïve. Actually, it’s worse. It’s genocide and Gov. Snyder’s response is unacceptable.

In his State of the State address on Jan. 19 he said, “To you, the people of Flint, I say tonight, as I have before: I’m sorry and I will fix it.”

Well, I don’t buy it.

Gov. Snyder still has the Flint River as the primary source of city water. To make matters worse, citizens still have to pay the bill for their hazardous water. Should they decide to stop paying for their water bill, they face the threat of foreclosure on their homes and having their children confiscated because Michigan law states that parents can be deemed negligent if they don’t have running water in their homes.

Resolving this issue won’t be easy and it won’t be cheap. At this point, no one knows how bad Flint’s water pipes have been damaged. Sending water bottles is helpful, but isn’t a permanent solution. In fact, filmmaker Michael Moore noted on his website that “Flint has 102,000 residents, each in need of an average of 50 gallons of water a day for cooking, bathing, washing clothes, doing the dishes, and drinking (I’m not counting toilet flushes, watering plants or washing the car). But 100,000 bottles of water is enough for just one bottle per person – in other words, just enough to cover brushing one’s teeth for one day. You would have to send 200 bottles a day, per person, to cover what the average American (we are Americans in Flint) needs each day.”

Moore’s solution: a five-point plan starting with removing Gov. Snyder from office – now. A petition on his website is on its way to getting a half-million signatures and is gaining national attention. The rest of his plan includes having the state of Michigan pay for the damages caused using $1.2 million in rainy day and surplus accounts rather than having the federal government attempt a bailout.

The position of governor should belong to a person who puts the safety and health of people before a political agenda. Gov. Snyder has clearly not followed that ideal.

I look forward to the day the people of Flint toast to a cleaner and brighter future, hopefully with Gov. Snyder behind bars, drinking the water he had served to the people of Flint.