New EPA = Government “Employment Protection Agency”
In previous reports, I noted congressional hearings were being scheduled to review the Flint water crisis.
Our representatives are now reviewing the bureaucratic bungling that led to Michigan citizens being provided lead-contaminated tap water at top-notch dollars.
One piece of evidence reviewed was a damning memo from the EPA.
An internal Environmental Protection Agency memo showed officials didn’t think “Flint is the community we want to go out on a limb for” while residents of the Michigan town drank lead-contaminated water.
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz presented an internal memo between the EPA official who oversees Michigan, a branch manager in the EPA’s Region 5, the associate director of the water division for Region 5 and an EPA environmental engineer about the water crisis in Flint.
In the memo, one of the officials — it wasn’t clear who based on the screen shown by Chaffetz — said Flint wasn’t worth helping.
“Perhaps she already knows all this, but I’m not so sure Flint is the community we want to go out on a limb for,” the memo stated.
Chaffetz was incredulous at the memo.
“Are you kidding me?” he said, looking at Susan Hedman, the former director of EPA’s Region 5, which oversees much of the Midwest including Michigan.
“Why isn’t Flint the community they go to? Of all the communities, the community having trouble is the one you go all out for,” Chaffetz said.
The representatives also heard from a noted whistleblower in the case, who experienced bureaucratic retaliation for doing his job of actually protecting public health.
A federal regulator who first raised concerns about Flint’s water more than a year ago criticized his agency’s handling of the situation in September, saying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appeared more concerned with “trying to maintain state/local relationships than we do trying to protect the children” in the city
Region 5 Regulations Manager Miguel Del Toral’s e-mail from Sept. 22, 2015, came as there was additional evidence mounting as to high lead levels in Flint’s water and studies showing elevated blood-lead levels in Flint’s children.
As early as February 2015, Del Toral had said high lead levels in at least one residence in Flint concerned him that the problem could be more widespread and he wondered openly if the city was practicing corrosion control, which he said was required. He indicated in several e-mails released by the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday that he felt he was being disciplined for giving a Flint resident a copy of his draft report that indicated there could be problems throughout the city.
Dr. Marc Edwards, the Professor of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and one of the key researchers into this case, blasted the EPA.
Based on the testimony from Hedman, who resigned during the furor over Flint’s tainted drinking water, Edwards said ruefully that it appeared the agency had a policy of “willful blindness in this case to the pain and suffering of Flint residents.”
He called EPA administrators “unremorseful for their role in causing this man-made disaster.” He added that they were “completely unrepentant and unable to learn from their mistakes.”
In conclusion, the “Environmental Protection Agency” has transformed itself into the government “Employment Protection Agency.”
That seems except for Hedman, who is one of the rare bureaucrats who has received at least a drop of justice.