Earlier this month in a legislative session that went until the early hours of the morning, both chambers of the Michigan Legislature passed the budget for 2017. Included in the budget omnibus bill is $114.3 million in emergency supplemental funding for solutions to the Flint water crisis.
It was a dark, cold January day, shortly after Michigan officials had finally admitted that the people of Flint had been exposed to poisoned water running through their taps. We drove from Lansing to St Michael’s Church in Flint for an organizing meeting. Local activists, people from the non-profit community, and even experts who had run door-to-door canvasses in response to Hurricane Sandy, were all there to do something about the water crisis that is still being ignored by our state government.
Our approach to drinking water protection - “Putting Drinking Water First” - feels light years away from the crisis in Flint, with seemingly nothing to offer based on what we have learned about the causes of this situation.