Tag Archives: Flint

‘Despicable’: Internal Emails Reveal Water Contractor Knew About Lead Risks in Flint Months Before City’s Public Confirmation

“I think anyone has to ask themselves how the story in Flint would be different five years later now if Veolia had made those private concerns public.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-10-2019

Photo: George Thomas/flickr/CC

Internal emails reported on Tuesday by The Guardian and MLive reveal that executives at a water company contracted to assess the water system in Flint, Michigan privately expressed concerns that residents “might be at risk of being poisoned by lead in their tap water months before the city publicly admitted the problem in 2015.”

The emails, obtained by the watchdog group Corporate Accountability, came to light through a lawsuit filed in the Genesee County Circuit Court by the Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat who took office in January. The state’s suit accused the company, Veolia, of “professional negligence, negligence, public nuisance, unjust enrichment, and fraud.” Last month a state judge threw out all but the unjust enrichment claim. Continue reading

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Justice Denied, Delayed, or Done Right? Serious Concerns as Prosecutors Throw Out Charges in Flint Water Crisis Cases

Citing the “flawed foundation” of the initial probe, state prosecutors announced they are launching a new “uncompromising” investigation

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-13-2019

Photo: Mark Dixon/flickr

In a move that elicited fresh concerns and demands for justice, the Michigan prosecution team investigating the Flint water crisis announced Thursday that it was dismissing all pending criminal charges against eight former and current officials and launching a new probe, citing concerns with the initial one.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel appointed Fadwa Hammoud as the state’s solicitor general in January and assigned her to take over the criminal cases related to Flint’s water crisis, which started five years ago when a governor-appointed emergency manager switched the city’s water supply to a polluted river. Continue reading

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‘This Is a Big Deal’: Fearing ‘Public Relations Nightmare,’ Pruitt’s EPA Blocked Release of a Major Water Contamination Study

Journalists, members of Congress, environmental and public health advocates, and water experts are all calling on the Trump administration to “immediately” release the report

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-15-2018

Screenshot: YouTube

Fearing a “public relations nightmare,” President Donald Trump’s White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the reign of administrator Scott Pruitt, blocked the release of a major water contamination story, according to emails obtained by the Union of Concerned Scientists and reported on by Politico.

News of the Trump administration’s interference with a federal study on “a nationwide water-contamination crisis” infuriated reporters, politicians, experts, and advocates for public health and the environment. Friends of the Earth tweeted, “Scott Pruitt is more worried about journalists than poisoning millions of Americans.” Continue reading

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Involuntary Manslaughter Charges for Top State Health Official for Role in Flint Water Crisis

Advocacy group says new charges boost call for governor to resign

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-14-2017

Michigan’s top health official was among five people charged with involuntary manslaughter for their role in the Flint water crisis. (Photo: Flint Rising/ Facebook)

Michigan’s attorney general announced Wednesday that the head of the state’s health department and four others have been charged with involuntary manslaughter for their role in the years-long Flint water crisis.

Nick Lyon, director of Michigan Health and Human Services, “failed in his responsibilities to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Flint,” state AG Bill Schuette said at a press conference Wednesday. Continue reading

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Flint Residents Now Have to Pay for Water They Still Can’t Drink

State government ends program that helped residents of Flint, Michigan with their water bills after widespread lead poisoning was revealed

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-1-2017

“It’s been three years, and we still can’t drink the water.” (Photo: Steve Johnson/flickr/cc)

The state of Michigan has declared that Flint’s drinking water “meets all federal water quality standards,” ending a program Wednesday that reimbursed residents for most of their water costs in the wake of the lead crisis.

Yet Flint residents still can’t drink the water, and the announcement was met with outrage.

“They want to make it look like they’ve resolved this thing, that it’s fixed,” Tim Monahan, a carpenter who survived Legionnaires’ disease caused by the poisoned water supply, told the Washington Post. “It’s been three years, and we still can’t drink the water.” Continue reading

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Flint Residents Barred From Closed-Door Water Quality Meeting

Advocates and residents are concerned that officials are rushing to declare the city’s water supply safe

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-10-2017

“My eyes are still burning. I can’t breathe when I get out of the shower…we’re still melting here,” Flint resident Tony Palladeno said. (Photo: Flint Rising/ Facebook

Residents of Flint, Michigan who traveled to Chicago were barred from attending a private meeting Tuesday between Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and other officials, who advocates say are rushing to declare the city’s water supply safe.

Outrage over the closed-door meeting prompted protests in Flint and Chicago, where residents held signs outside the Water Quality Summit asking for their detailed water quality report. Continue reading

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As Flint Suffers, Nestlé Plans Dramatic Expansion of Water Privatization in Michigan

What’s more, the biggest food company in the world gets to pump that water at no cost

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11/1/2016

"The issue is the privatization of a critical resource. How much is too much?" said Jeff Ostahowski, vice president of the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation. (Photo: Steven Depolo/cc/flickr)

“The issue is the privatization of a critical resource. How much is too much?” said Jeff Ostahowski, vice president of the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation. (Photo: Steven Depolo/cc/flickr)

The state of Michigan has reportedly issued preliminary approval for bottled water behemoth Nestlé to nearly triple the amount of groundwater it will pump, to be bottled and sold at its Ice Mountain plant, which lies roughly 120 miles northwest of the beleaguered community of Flint.

“Nestlé Waters North America is asking the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for permission to increase allowed pumping from 150 to 400 gallons-per-minute at one of its production wells north of Evart,” MLive reported on Monday. Continue reading

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As Flint Suffers, Big Pharma Slammed for Lead Poison Drug Price Hike of 2,700%

Drug company Valeant described as ‘poster child for pharmaceutical greed’

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-14-2016

"While kids in Flint are poisoned by lead, Valeant charges $27,000 for the leading treatment," Sanders wrote. (Photo: Partha S. Sahana/flickr/cc)

“While kids in Flint are poisoned by lead, Valeant charges $27,000 for the leading treatment,” Sanders wrote. (Photo: Partha S. Sahana/flickr/cc)

Outrage is growing this week amid revelations that the pharmaceutical company Valeant raised the price for its critical lead-poisoning treatment by more than 2,700 percent in a single year.

Before Valeant took control of the medication, known as Calcium EDTA, in 2013, the average price for a package of vials was stable at $950, the medical news outlet STAT reported. But once the notorious pharmaceutical company bought it out in a multi-billion dollar deal, it swiftly boosted the price to $7,116 in January 2014 and to $26,927 by December of that year. Continue reading

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Snyder’s “Unconscionable” Use of Millions in Taxpayer Money for Criminal Defense Fees Questioned

“I can’t think of a clearer conflict of interest than the governor signing a contract to provide his own personal legal defense … without anybody providing oversight,” attorney said.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-12=2016

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been named in numerous lawsuits by Flint residents seeking justice for the lead-tainted water crisis. Image via CommonDreams.org.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been named in numerous lawsuits by Flint residents seeking justice for the lead-tainted water crisis. Image via CommonDreams.org.

One resident of Flint, Michigan—a city still grappling with a lead-contamination crisis—is asking a grand jury to look into whether Gov. Rick Snyder illegally used $2 million in taxpayer money for his legal fees related to the disaster.

“After what has happened in this city, it’s just a slap in the face,” said 46-year-old Keri Webber, adding that she finds it “unacceptable and unconscionable” for city residents to “pa[y] for the defense of the very man at the center of the whole issue.” Continue reading

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Critical Flint Aid Held Hostage as Congressional Showdown Looms

“Have Congressional Republicans forgotten about Flint? Or maybe it’s that they just don’t really care.”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-26-2016

"The people of Flint deserved assistance more than a year ago, and they require assistance now, without further delay." (Photo: Jake May/MLive)

“The people of Flint deserved assistance more than a year ago, and they require assistance now, without further delay.” (Photo: Jake May/MLive)

Even as Flint residents continue to struggle to provide clean drinking water for their families, Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate appear to be thumbing their noses at the Michigan city, excluding Flint assistance from a must-pass spending bill ahead of (yet another) congressional recess.

“Have Congressional Republicans forgotten about Flint?” The Flint Journal wrote in an editorial on Monday. “Or maybe it’s that they just don’t really care.” Continue reading

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