An important report that does not mince words. Nice timeline!
Here is part of the Executive Summary:
In January 2016, a series of states of emergency for the City of Flint were declared by the Mayor,
the Governor and even the President. These declarations turned the attention of the state and nation to the Flint water crisis. As a result, the state, local and federal governments sprang into action. The National Guard was tasked to assist. FEMA1 sent representatives. Community organizations and non-profits from throughout the state, and even nationally, responded by volunteering, and sending bottled water. The Governor formed Mission Flint, which brought key members of the Administration together weekly, and the Legislature authorized a supplemental budget. Bottled water and water filters were distributed and residents were provided information in multiple languages. It was all hands on deck. From all accounts, the government was operating the way we would expect it to operate in response to an emergency.
What then, was the problem? The timing. Preceding this flurry of “state of emergency” activity, Flint residents had been reporting heavily discolored and bad tasting water for well over a year.
On August 15, and September 5, 2014, Genesee County issued boil water advisories.
October 13, 2014, GM ceased using the water citing corrosion concerns on its parts.
October 14, 2014, senior staff from the Governor’s office urged a return to the Detroit water system.
January 12, 2015, State provided water coolers and bottled waters to its employees in Flint
January 30, 2015, an increase in legionella was linked to the change in water source.
February 25, 2015, a Flint resident contacted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the extremely high levels of lead in her water.
February 26, 2015, the EPA told water personnel that a corrosion program should be in place.
June 24, 2015, EPA confirms “High Lead Levels in Flint, Michigan.”
July 22, 2015, the Governor’s chief of staff noted that Flint residents did not believe their complaints were being heard.
August 27, 2015, Virginia Tech Professor Marc Edwards reports finding very high lead levels in water.
September 24, 2015, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha of Hurley Hospital finds very high lead levels in children.
On September 29, 2015, the Detroit Free Press published an analysis of the blood tests, Genesee County issued a health advisory, and the Governor’s office directed the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to consider emergency responses.
On October 1, 2015, three months before the states of emergency were issued, DHHS confirmed Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s analysis.
On October 16, 2015, Flint switched back to Detroit water system.
On October 21, 2015, the Governor created the Flint Water Advisory Task Force to review state, federal and municipal actions, and to offer recommendations – one year after the first boil water advisory had been issued and GM said they could no longer use the water because it was corroding their parts.
December 14, 2015, Flint emergency declaration.
January 4, 2016, Genesee County emergency declaration.January 5, 2015, State of Michigan emergency declaration.
January 16, 2016, U.S. Federal emergency declaration.
The Commission recognizes that there have been numerous articles, hearings, studies, reports and investigations into Flint’s water crisis. Many focused on the technical aspects of the water crisis: What anti corrosive materials should have been added? What about the testing of lead in the water? Is the current lead copper rule sufficient? Others examined the decision-making tree: who made what decisions and when, and what were the effects of those decisions? And of course, the Attorney General began his investigation into potential criminal wrong-doing. In each of these investigations, the focus has been on who should bear the blame, especially relating to decisions made and actions taken in the last two to three years. There are also numerous private law suits seeking to find liability and hold parties responsible.
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC or Commission) believes that to properly and completely assess the causes of the Flint water crisis, we must look back much further. We believe the underlying issue is historical and systemic, and dates back nearly a century, and has at its foundation race and segregation of the Flint community. These historical policies, practices, laws and norms fostered and perpetuated separation of race, wealth and opportunity.
We are not suggesting that those making decisions related to this crisis were racists, or meant to treat Flint any differently because it is a community primarily made up by people of color. Rather, the disparate response is the result of systemic racism that was built into the foundation and growth of Flint, its industry and the suburban area surrounding it. This is revealed through the story of housing, employment, tax base and regionalization which are interconnected in creating the legacy of Flint.
We can do better than this. A lot better.
Enjoy - if you can.
"While we almost universally recognize that racial discrimination is wrong, this consensus has not translated into decision-making or policies that reflect those values." - Report, page 3
“If this was in a white area, in a rich area, there would have been something done. I mean let’s get real here. We know the truth.” - Yolanda Figueroa, Flint resident (page 9)