News Release

Flint-Type Crises “Will Continue Until EPA is Accountable”

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.09.18 AMThe Hill reports: “Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is turning down a request from House Democrats that he testify about his role in Flint, Mich.’s drinking water crisis.

“Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton said Monday that the governor won’t attend on Wednesday because he’s due to present his annual budget proposal that day in Michigan.”

MARSHA COLEMAN-ADEBAYO, nofearcoalition at aol.com, @nofearcoalition
Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is an EPA whistleblower who worked at the agency for 18 years. She is the author of No Fear: A Whistleblowers Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA‘ Her lawsuit led to the historic No Fear Act. She just co-wrote the piece “Water crises like Flint’s will continue until the EPA is held accountable” for The Guardian, which states: “The ultimate responsibility to safeguard public health rests with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), per the Clean Water Act. In fact, there are provisions of the Clean Water Act that provide for criminal prosecutions for violations that can result in fines and imprisonment.”

“The EPA has 200 fully authorized federal law enforcement agents who can carry firearms, 70 forensic scientists and technicians, and 45 attorneys who specialize in environmental crimes enforcement. Yet the EPA, mandated as the public’s last, best line of defense, failed the people — yet again — when it came to the Flint water crisis.

“The Flint atrocity could, with congressional and presidential resolve, be the last one — agency administrators and political appointees serve at the pleasure of the president, and Congress is responsible for doling out funding to them.

“But for that resolve to crystallize, the horrors of the poisoning of Flint need to be seen within the historical contexts that show the crimes committed against the people of Flint fit a toxic template with deep roots in the managerial culture of the EPA that has repeatedly created sacrifice zones in poor, predominantly black and brown communities of America, often backed by congressional and presidential inaction.

“Congress, acting on behalf of the people, must break this cycle and hold all public officials who were complicit in the tragedy in Flint to account.

“Ten years ago, municipal water quality expert Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech professor who is now part of the group investigating Flint, took on the EPA and the CDC about lead poisoning in Washington D.C. It took six years and tens of thousands of his own dollars to fight two federal agencies charged with protecting the public. After that period, by virtue of wresting FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request information that both agencies had withheld from the public — and surviving both agency’s efforts to discredit him as an unreliable rogue — the agencies finally had to admit they had misled the public, and that a disproportionate number of Washington’s children of color suffered lead poisoning.”