Tag Archives: Flint Water Crisis

Shocking New Details Revealed In EPA’s Failure To Stop Flint From Drinking Lead Water

By Michael Bastasch – Environmental Protection Agency officials apparently weren’t willing to “go out on a limb” for Flint, Mich., as it became apparent the city’s water supply had been contaminated with high levels of lead, according to an internal agency memo revealed at a Tuesday congressional hearing.

Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House oversight committee, revealed an internal EPA memo during a hearing Tuesday between agency officials responsible for overseeing clean water operations in Michigan. The September 2015 memo said, “I’m not so sure Flint is the community we want to go out on a limb for.”

The EPA administrator says that Susan Hedman was courageous for resigning,” Chaffetz said in the heearing. “It didn’t take us but a couple hours once we got these memos to find the problem here. you can take down that. Why isn’t flint the community they go to?”

“You know, of all the communities out there, the one that’s having the toughest time is the one that needs the most protection,” Chaffetz said. “You can shake your head and say, oh, yeah, but the EPA had every opportunity to make — make the right move here, and they didn’t… because one of the things that is fundamentally and totally wrong here is they had the information and they would not release it to the public.”

For months, Flint has been grappling with a lead crisis in the city’s water stemming from state regulators failure to apply the correct chemical treatment after the city switched water supplies form Lake Huron to the Flint River. State regulators finally admitted in October 2015 that it had applied the wrong chemical treatment to Flint’s water, resulting in corrosive water leaching lead off old pipes and into people’s drinking water.

[dcquiz] EPA officials, however, knew of the lead leaching for months before the news went public. EPA spent months quietly warning state regulators of the lack of corrosion controls for Flint’s water supplies. The EPA told the state it needed to use chemical treatments to prevent lead lines and plumbing from getting into Flint’s drinking water, but the agency did nothing to publicize its concerns over the city’s water despite the state’s refusal to control against lead poisoning.

The Detroit News reported that EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman said “she sought a legal opinion on whether the EPA could force action, but it wasn’t completed until November.”

Hedman resigned in January 2016 after she was implicated in Flint’s water crisis.

Follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter



Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Beyonce’s Dancers Emphasize Black Panthers, Mario Woods, Black Lives Matter at Super Bowl 50

Beyonce’s politically-charged performance on Sunday, which heavily referenced the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panthers at Super Bowl 50, assisted in showcasing the growing activist movements among the black community.

Her “Formation” performance, voicing racial inequality and police brutality towards the black community while also embracing black femininity, put black America center stage in front of 114.4 million viewers at the Super Bowl. During the performance, dancers made an “X” formation in reference to Malcom X while raising their fists in a black pride salute.

After the performance, some of the dancers— dressed in Black Panther-style berets and in black leather— were pictured raising their fists again, yet this time holding a piece of paper that read “Justice 4 Mario Woods.”

This move followed about 200 protesters who had demonstrated in San Francisco on Jan. 30 for Woods. Protesters were out demanding justice and for San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr to be fired.

Mario Woods was a black man shot dead by by five San Francisco police officers during a confrontation in San Francisco last December.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Woods was shot about fifteen times by five officers. Cell phone footage shows him walking away from the police refusing to drop a knife. Activists have argued that he was mentally ill and that the force used by the officers was unnecessary.

Woods supporters have said the cell phone footage showed that Woods was not an imminent danger and was executed by police in a “firing-squad” style. The SFC reported that “Woods’ mother, Gwendolyn Woods, said he was working on getting his life on track after his stint in prison. He had just gotten his uniform for his new UPS job, she said.”

Last Friday, prominent artist and activist Alicia Keys spoke out in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters ahead of the Super Bowl while performing at San Francisco’s free Super Bowl City concert.

“I want you to know that I salute everyone who has the courage and conviction to stand for what’s right. I want to thank you for your commitment to making sure justice is done for Mario Woods. As the mother of two black sons it breaks my heart to see what we’ve been seeing, the trouble’s we’ve been seeing on camera, and all the people that we’ll never see.”

This isn’t the first time Alicia Keys or Beyonce have spoken out in solidarity with the black community and Black Lives Matter. Last year, Beyonce and her husband Jay Z reportedly wired “tens of thousands” of dollars to bail protesters out in Baltimore and Ferguson. Jay Z, along with Roc Nation, also recently donated $1.5 million from Tidal Black Lives Matter and other social justice organizations. This donation was made on February 5th in honor of Trayvon Martin’s birthday, who would have turned 21 had he not been shot by George Zimmerman.

[RELATED: Civil Unrest Breaks out in MO After Cop Kills Unarmed Teen]

Beyonce went on to end her performance with announcing her world tour and a new fund to help the children of Flint, Michigan, during the city’s current water crisis.

Regional EPA Chief Resigns Over Flint Water Crisis

By Andrew Follett – Susan Hedman, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regional administrator responsible for Michigan, resigned Thursday night amid charges she suppressed information showing there were serious issues with Flint’s drinking water.

“EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has accepted given Susan’s strong interest in ensuring that EPA [R]egion 5’s focus remains solely on the restoration of Flint’s drinking water,” an EPA spokeswoman told reporters late Thursday.

“EPA is rife with incompetence and Region 5 is no exception,” Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote in a statement. “Mismanagement has plagued the region for far too long and Ms. Hedman’s resignation is way overdue. The lack of accountability throughout the EPA has allowed problems to fester and crises to explode. ”

EPA water expert Miguel Del Toral identified contamination problems with Flint’s drinking water last February and confirmed the suspicions in April. He authored an internal memo about the problem in June, according to documents obtained by Virginia Tech. The memo was also sent to Flint’s former mayor, Dwayne Walling, but Hedman downplayed Del Toral’s report and brushed aside concerns about high levels of lead in the city’s water.

“The preliminary draft report should not have been released outside the agency,” Hedman wrote to Walling in a July 1st email. “When the report has been revised and fully vetted by EPA management, the findings and recommendations will be shared with the city and DEQ will be responsible for following up with the city.”

The American Civil Liberties Union accused the EPA in October of attempting to suppress information about the crisis. Emails released last Wednesday show that the environmental agency spent months pointing fingers at local and state officials for the lead problem and downplaying concerns.

The corrosive nature of Flint’s drinking water is causing lead from pipes and pathogens to get into the town’s water supply, according to a study by Virginia Tech. Flint is currently dealing with an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, a dangerous infection that usually spreads through a tainted water source.

Nearly two years ago, the state of Michigan decided to save money by switching Flint’s water supply from Lake Huron to a local river. The city of Flint, however, applied the wrong standards for governing drinking water, resulting in a system that did not properly control corrosion. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the National Guard last Tuesday to help distribute bottled water and filters to the 100,000 residents of Flint.

Follow Andrew on Twitter

Send tips to andrew@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.




Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contac licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

EPA Responds to Accusations of Inaction in Flint Water Crisis

The Environmental Protection Agency is under fire following revelations that the regulator knew about the potential lead toxicity of Flint, Michigan’s water supply system as early as April of last year, but did not alert the public and instead engaged in a six-month, behind-the-scenes power struggle with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality over whether chemical treatments are necessary to prevent the Flint River’s water from leeching lead from plumbing into residents’ taps.

Truth In Media reported last month that Flint, Mich. Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency “over elevated lead content levels, connected to a problem with the city’s tap water system, that have been found in blood tests of local children.”

In 2014, a state-appointed emergency city manager unhooked Flint from Detroit’s water supply and began drawing water from the more corrosive Flint River, a move aimed at cutting costs that unleashed lead from aging city plumbing.

[RELATED: Flint, Mich. Mayor Calls State of Emergency Over City Water System’s Lead Content]

The Detroit News notes that EPA water expert Miguel Del Toral first sounded alarms about the potential lead toxicity in February of 2015 and issued a June internal memo warning about the problem. However, EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman reportedly downplayed the severity of Del Toral’s findings and kept them from the public, while seeking legal opinions on how to force the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to comply with EPA’s policy recommendations, which were not completed by attorneys until November.

State officials had already reconnected Flint to Detroit’s water supply in October in response to the crisis, but too late, as lead leeched from pipes had already contaminated the city’s water system.

It is important to understand the clear roles here. Communication about lead in drinking water and the health impacts associated with that, that’s the role of DHHS, the county health department and the drinking water utility,” said Hedman. She maintains that the EPA’s role in this case was to provide water treatment standards, technical assistance, and monitoring techniques.

[RELATED: Audit: EPA Engaged in ‘Covert Propaganda’ with Social Media Push for Water Rule]

Critics say that when the Department of Environmental Quality refused to implement chemical treatments to prevent the Flint River’s water from leeching lead into city pipes, claiming further tests were necessary to demonstrate the need to do so, EPA officials could have warned the public about the imminent health risks in Del Toral’s findings. Instead, the bureaucracy kept the issue under wraps and spent six months trying to determine what legal authority it had to compel state officials to take Del Toral’s warning seriously.

Furthermore, Hedman’s emails to city officials as late as July showed little concern about the risks from higher-ups in the EPA, as she suggested that a report on the toxic water that city officials had seen should not have been shown to them yet and encouraged them to wait for further guidance from EPA after agency administrators had more time to review the information. That report was not released until November.

According to Reuters, on Monday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, “EPA did its job but clearly the outcome was not what anyone would have wanted. So we’re going to work with the state, we’re going to work with Flint. We’re going to take care of the problem. We know Flint is a situation that never should have happened.

McCarthy said that the EPA is planning to audit the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s water program.

President Obama declared a state of emergency on Saturday over Flint’s toxic water supply and allocated federal aid resources to assist in dealing with the crisis.

Hurley Medical Center conducted a study in September of last year that “presented findings of rise in blood lead levels of children less than 5 years old living within Flint zip codes 48501-48507 after the switch to Flint River water as the source.