An environmental crisis rages in Flint, Michigan. The buck stops with Governor Rick Snyder (R), who plunged the economically depressed city into a federal state of emergency after switching its water source from Lake Huron to the less expensive, but polluted Flint River.
The city’s population is largely black and also poor, since the downsizing of GM, which was largely responsible for contaminating the river in the first place. Poisoned residents could be dealing with the health effects for a lifetime, and children are particularly at risk.
The problem began in 2014, when the state failed to add anti-corrosive treatment to the water after it switched its source from the lake to the river. Though cheaper, the latter ate away at Flint’s aged pipes from the inside, introducing rust, iron, and lead to the water residents drank and bathed in. The government ignored citizens’ complaints, but now Flint’s water has been federally declared unsafe.
The UAW and many others have responded with rallies and water drives. We urge NWU members to donate to the United Way of Genesee County Water Fund, which purchases water and filters for Flint residents. No administrative fees are taken out, so all the donations go to aid those hurt by the crisis. Also, please check out this great interview by NWU member Chris Savage on conditions in Flint.