An ugly picture of “Rule by Bureaucracy”
We noted that the water crisis in Flint, Michigan was 40-years in the making and the situation was worsened by complete bureaucratic failure.
However, unlike Hillary Clinton and her emails, the electronic correspondence from regulators and government officials associated with the decision that resulted in Flint residents consuming water with elevated lead concentrations has been released.
It is not a pretty picture.
One set from the EPA’s local regulators indicate that the bureaucrats were prepared to let the situation continued unchecked for several months before proceeding to take any mitigating action.
Four months after being notified about high lead levels in a Flint home, the Environmental Protection Agency was prepared to let the city continue giving lead-contaminated water to customers until at least 2016, emails released Friday show.
Jennifer Crooks, the Michigan program manager for the EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, sent out an agenda on June 8, 2015, for a planned call with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials.
In that email, Crooks said it was known that Flint had not been adding any corrosion-control chemicals to its water to prevent lead from leaching from the pipes into drinking water since April 2014. She said the city was in its second six-month testing period.
It didn’t make sense for the city to start a corrosion control program in June 2015, Crooks wrote.
“Since Flint has lead service lines, we understand some citizen-requested lead sampling is exceeding the Action Level, and the source of drinking water will be changing again in 2016, so to start a Corrosion Control Study now doesn’t make sense,” Crooks wrote.
I suspect if the problem was related to “climate change”, then these bureaucrats would have been right on top of the situation.
The governor’s office said Friday that Snyder called the committee’s chairman, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, on Thursday and offered to testify before the panel to address mistakes made by water quality experts that led to the current crisis of high levels of lead found in Flint residents’ tap water.
Shortly after the Free Press broke news of the request, Chaffetz put out a statement saying he would hold a hearing — the committee’s second into the Flint water crisis — and the governor would be called to testify, as would EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, former EPA Region 5 head Susan Hedman, former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley, among others.
“We are committed to investigating the failures in Flint,” Chaffetz said. “We appreciate Gov. Snyder’s willingness to appear … and look forward to hearing from EPA Administrator McCarthy as well. Their perspectives on this issue are important as we seek to ensure a crisis of this magnitude never occurs in another American city.”
McCarthy certainly has been busy. The last we checked in with her, she was dealing with the fallout from the role that the EPA played in creating the Animas River Spill.
I suspect her next visit might be to Utah, which has planning to file a suit against the EPA because of the chemical contamination of the riverway.
In a statement, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said the EPA failed to share recent test results of elevated metals in the San Juan River. He said they would press forward with a lawsuit, but hoped for a settlement.
“After the spill, we waited to take legal action because in good faith we hoped that cooperation with the EPA could bring more rapid reimbursement and remediation. Perhaps there is a still a chance for that to happen, but Utah needs to be in a position to file a lawsuit if the federal government is not more responsive and transparent. The discovery that the EPA did not share relevant information is a cause for serious concern and could lead to additional claims after we have fully investigated that omission,” Reyes said in the statement.
While the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates will claim greedy Republicans can’t be trusted to protect the environment, it appears that the EPA’s primary mission has devolved from protecting the environment and public health to protecting its power and pet projects.
That is a very ugly picture, indeed.