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Democrats Are Fleeing From The Flint Crisis In Mass Droves

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Chris White Tech Reporter

The spotlight on Flint is starting to ebb even as Michigan Democrats plead with the U.S. Senate to pass legislature giving the state $100 million to use on the city’s water crisis.

The Water Resources Development Act of 2016, which was sponsored by GOP Sens. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and California Democrat Barbara Boxer, cruised through the Environment and Public Works Committee by a 19-1 vote in late April, as publicity surrounding the crisis was at its peak.

Times have changed, as Democrats have shifted from concentrating on Flint to targeting on election year strife. Michigan Democrats are still fighting the good fight even if their fellow lawmakers consider other issues to tackle.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, for instance, urged action on the near $220 million plan Thursday on the Senate floor.

“People have said to me, ‘Gosh, that was really bad what happened before in Flint,'” she said. “And I say, no, no, it’s not what happened before. It’s still happening. There’s still bottled water being delivered to homes and people have been waiting and waiting and waiting.”

The costs associated with dealing with both the crisis and its legal ramifications will be staggering.

Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder announced in August a plan to substantially increase financial caps on contracts to law firms representing him in the Flint water crisis. Taxpayers will cover the expense of $3.4 million in billings.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Department of Health and Human Services representatives have spent an additional $1.6 million for lawyer fees.

The formerly state-controlled Flint government ordered a changed water sources in April 2014 from Lake Huron to the Flint River, which caused lead pipes leading from the main city pipes to homes to leach into the city’s drinking water. Residents still cannot drink the water without using a filter.

The process to fix Flint’s dilapidated water pipes and tainted water supply will take years, Michigan lawmakers argued in May, making it less likely that the current spate of politicians and local officials will be around to see the final solution.

Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan admitted Flint has fallen off the national scene since August, when the government rapped up its investigation, but told reporters congressional leaders are still taking seriously Flint’s plight.

“Nobody really wants to do or say anything that would jeopardize that action,” the Flint resident said. “When I speak to the leader [Nancy Pelosi], when I speak to the White House, when I speak to my friends in the Senate, we still have our eye on the ball.”

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