Trustworthy Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Wants Obama to Drink Flint Water to Prove It's Safe
In advance of President Barack Obama's visit to Flint, Michigan, on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Snyder emailed the Huffington Post this message:
"We are hopeful the president will drink the water in Flint, to help reinforce Gov. Snyder's actions and the EPA's message that filtered Flint water is safe to drink."
You mean the same governor whose administration told Flint residents to keep drinking local tap water for months after it was shown to contain dangerous levels of lead, now wants the president to trust him that filtered water in the city is OK to drink?
Let's think about it for a minute.
We'll be honest, Snyder — you've had better ideas.
The Flint water crisis has been a problem for more than a year now. Snyder's request comes in the wake of one of the worst public health crises in recent memory. In January 2015, months after Flint started drawing its tap water from the hypercorrosive Flint River, local and state authorities admitted the water contained such high levels of lead it was unsafe for human use.
Turns out the river water was eating away at the city's 100-year-old pipe system, causing lead from the pipes to be released into the water supply and funneled straight into people's homes.
Here are some horrifying images residents, researchers and reporters have shared of Flint's tap water over the past year and a half:
The water's contamination was shocking news for some, but there had been reason to be cautious of the water for months: The local General Motors factory had already stopped using the water in its manufacturing because it was too corrosive.
Meanwhile, Flint residents had been complaining about filthy brown stink-liquid oozing out of their taps instead of clean water for months, causing skin rashes, hair loss and possibly an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease, which has killed nine people and infected 87 in the area since early 2014, the Washington Post reported in February.
It took the government a really long time to admit the water was unsafe.
Multiple lawsuits and congressional hearings after the fact, Flint residents still have a hard time trusting their elected representatives — partly because many of them insisted the tap water was safe to use, even as studies and residents' personal experiences showed the opposite was true.
Meanwhile, faith in the region's leaders still hasn't been restored. When Snyder announced he would drink filtered Flint tap water for 30 days starting April 22 — a show of solidarity intended to illustrate the water was now safe — residents were still woefully unimpressed.
"His whole family has to drink it," Elizabeth Taylor, a 73-year-old Flint resident, told the Detroit Free Press. "They have to cook with it and bathe with it.
"He thinks we just trust him because he says so?"
President Obama travels to Flint Wednesday to see and hear about the water crisis up close.
May 4, 2016, 4:37 p.m.: During his remarks to Flint community members Wednesday afternoon, President Obama asked for a glass of local tap water. He got it, then drank it:
What a time to be alive.
h/t Huffington Post