Energy

Dems Aim To Push Legislation Responding To Flint Water Scandal

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Democrats plan on crafting a response Thursday to the water contamination scandal plaguing Flint, Mich.

Senate Minority Leader [crscore]Harry Reid[/crscore] told reporters Wednesday Democrats will include a measure addressing the controversy surrounding the contamination of Flint’s water in the Energy Policy Modernization Act.

“The issue is what do we do about Flint?” Reid told reporters. “We want something to be done, because this is an issue that’s going to come back.”

Reid’s message was heavy on condemnation and light on substance, as he was cagey about some of the proposed measure’s specifics.

Still, Democrats used the specter of the measure to rail against anyone who believes government over-regulation is dangerous.

Illinois Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin, for his part, later said the legislation is meant to protect people, adding the “next time someone stands in front of this mic and starts railing against government regulation, I hope you will mention two words to them: Flint, Michigan.”

City officials in Flint switched their water source from the expensive Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) pipeline to the equally expensive Karengondi Water Authority (KWA). Both departments were tasked with drawing water from Lake Huron.

The city lacked the kind of infrastructure needed to transport Lake Huron water to the city, so Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, appointed an emergency manager to divert the city’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River.

The switch led to the poisoning of 2 percent of the city’s population, including 23 children.

Progressives have blamed Snyder for the scandal, with a number of environmental activists implying the scandal is an example of racism on the part of the governor.

Progressive filmmaker Michael Moore, for example, published a couple of tweets in December to that effect.

Still others say the controversy is a result of poor government planning on the local level.

The ultimate decision to shift the water supply, for instance, was not made by Snyder, nor did the city’s emergency manager, Ed Kurtz, a Democrat, make it. Flint’s city council and mayor approved the shift, and the State Treasurer Andy Dillon—also a Democrat—signed off on the idea.

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