The state of Michigan has reached a settlement agreeing to pay $600 million to the victims of the Flint water crisis. Most of this money will be allocated to children in the city who were exposed to lead-contaminated water in their household pipes. The details of this settlement will be officially announced on Friday, but according to EcoWatch, it is expected that tens of thousands of residents will be eligible for compensation, which is subject to approval by a federal judge in Michigan. The settlement will be one of the largest in the state’s history, reports The Detroit News.
NEWARK, NJ - As throngs of attendees in cocktail dresses and casual suits lined up around the Prudential Center Monday eagerly awaiting entrance to MTV’s Video Music Awards, Anthony Diaz blew into a megaphone. “Where y’all from?” Diaz shouted. “We need clean water because we live here.” Diaz, of the Newark Water Coalition, organized a protest of the celebrity-studded award show, leading a march of about 100 people from Newark’s Penn Station to outside “The Rock” demanding the city do more for residents impacted by the city's ongoing lead water crisis.
With all the emphasis that has been placed on making sure children are safe from the hazards of lead-based paint at home, similar efforts would seem just as important for America’s schools. After all, outside of the home, young children spend the majority of their day – 6.8 hours a day – at school. Yet a new federal report found that an estimated 15.2 million children in the U.S. go to schools in school districts that found lead-based paint. This is happening more than 40 years after the United States’ 1978 ban on the use of lead-based paint in housing.
By M.B. Pell and Joshua Schneyer for Reuters - ST. JOSEPH, Missouri – On a sunny November afternoon in this historic city, birthplace of the Pony Express and death spot of Jesse James, Lauranda Mignery watched her son Kadin, 2, dig in their front yard. As he played, she scolded him for putting his fingers in his mouth. In explanation, she pointed to the peeling paint on her old house. Kadin, she said, has been diagnosed with lead poisoning. He has lots of company: Within 15 blocks of his house, at least 120 small children have been poisoned since 2010, making the neighborhood among the most toxic in Missouri, Reuters found as part of an analysis of childhood lead testing results across the country. In St. Joseph, even a local pediatrician’s children were poisoned.
By Katie Pohlman for Eco Watch - At least 33 cities in the U.S. cheated when testing water for lead contamination. With these “cheats” the cities misrepresented the amount of lead in their water supply, according to a Guardian investigation. The cities span 17 states east of the Mississippi River. Eastern states were targeted in the investigation because they are most at risk for lead contamination due to aging infrastructure. A total of 43 cities supplied The Guardian with water testing samples and data.
By Andrew Emett for Nation of Change - Appointed by the governor, the Flint Water Advisory Task Force recently released a damaging report accusing state and federal agencies of prolonged inaction while falsely claiming that the water was safe. Due to multiple levels of government failure, the task force concluded that Gov. Rick Snyder’s office, inept state employees, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and state-appointed emergency managers were directly responsible for poisoning the citizens of Flint.
By Marsha Coleman-Adebayo for The Guardian - If there is to be justice for the people of Flint, it will not be found inside the halls of Congress. It will come from where it always does: the street. In Thursday’s hearings on the poisonings, residents sat in the audience of the hearing room looking to their coiffed representatives for answers, for redress of grievous harm. Amid all the decorum they did not see that they have more courage – and integrity – than those whose help they sought. A seasoned ear may have heard the nuance, the faint drift among the many accusations leveled during the recent hearings.
By Zeba Blay for The Huffington Post - The most important star-studded event taking place Sunday night wasn't the Oscars -- it was director Ryan Coogler's #JusticeForFlint charity concert. The event, which was held at the Whiting Auditorium in Flint, Michigan, helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars for residents affected by the Flint water crisis, and provided them with "a night of fun, relaxation, and entertainment." Below are just a few of the stand out moments from the show...
By Shea Howell for The Boggs Blog - The toxic water in Flint has vividly brought to light the toxic consequences of right wing republican thinking that government should be run like a business. It has also shown us something about the poisoning of our own thinking. It took the poisoning of children to get the majority of people in America to recognize something profoundly ugly has been going on in Michigan. This is because our culture does not do well with complexity. We like our politicians loud, our heroes strong, our victims pure, and our villains beyond redemption.
By Bryce Covert for Think Progress - Not only did Flint residents drink tap water contaminated with lead and other chemicals throughout 2015, but they were also paying the highest prices in the country to keep that poisoned water flowing through their pipes. A report released by Food & Water Watch on Tuesday confirmed what many residents had long suspected: that their water bills, averaging $140 a month, were the highest in the country. The group found that a Flint resident paid $864.32 a year for water in January 2015, about $500 more than what the typical family in the rest of the country paid for water from other public utilities and more than twice the rate paid in the state generally.
By Marsha Coleman-Adebayo for Black Agenda Report - Flint, Michigan, was declared a “sacrifice zone” because its majority Black and poor population’s “presence is no longer required and their lives are considered a hindrance to economic progress,” writes the author, who blew the whistle on EPA complicity in U.S. corporate poisoning of South African vanadium mine workers. The EPA is a serial criminal that has “utterly failed the Flint community and must be held accountable.” The first Congressional Hearing on the poisoning of predominately African-American and working class Flint, Michigan, residents took place Wednesday, February 3rd...
By Laura Bliss for City Lab - Roughly 9,000 children under the age of six were exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water in Flint, Michigan, between April 2014 and October 2015. Thanks to a series of government failures, some of their lives will be forever changed by diminished IQ, damaged hearing, learning disabilities, and possibly increased criminality—the hallmarks of lead poisoning. Sadly, those kids are not alone. Over the past century, tens of millions of children have been poisoned by lead, mainly by its presence in old household paint.
By Larry Gabriel for Yes Magazine - The actions of a small group of dedicated activists in the Coalition for Clean Water led to the revelation that Flint, Michigan, residents were being poisoned by lead-contaminated water. The activists had been living with the yellow, brown, and red water flowing from their taps even as government officials denied it and the same poisoned water flowed from the taps at government buildings. The activists, whose different organizations came together to form the coalition, organized, strategized, did water research and testing to expose the government’s lies.
By Dennis Trainor, Jr. for Acronym TV - This week on Acronym TV - Congressional hearings on the Flint water crisis were convened on Wednesday but two of the people on the top of the list of people who should be on the hot seat were not there. - Sh*t Super Bowl Commercials Say - Iowa Caucus: Is This What Democracy Looks Like? - Obama Signs TPP; Worldwide Protests Ensue
By Sarah Frostenson for Vox - The lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan, was a surprise, an emergency that occurred after the city switched to a new, cheaper water source. But there are at least six cities in the United States where we should, in theory, have really good data on lead exposure. In fiscal year 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spent almost $2 million as part of a three-year funding commitment to help some of the biggest cities in the country monitor lead exposure. I spent the past week looking at these cities, and came away with three main findings.