Emails Reveal EPA Didn’t Want To ‘Go Out On A Limb’ For Flint

by
Priyanka Prasad
New emails shown during a hearing expose how little EPA officials empathized with Flint residents suffering in the water crisis.

New internal emails released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reveal that EPA officials fully knew about the lead water crisis in Flint, but did not consider it a priority they needed to address.

As Politico reports, “Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz unveiled the email during a hearing [Tuesday] morning in the context of questions about whether Flint's poverty and preponderance of minority residents had contributed to the disaster.”

EPA branch chief Debbie Baltazar wrote in September 2015 that, “I'm not so sure Flint is the community we want to go out on a limb for. At least without a better understanding of where all that money went."

Let’s keep in mind that the lead poisoning in Flint has affected thousands of children and residents, due to no fault of their own.

She later wrote, “Offering this kind of assistance to Flint may not send a good message to all the cities that properly managed their water and sewage fees.” As Mic notes, “Flint's use of water utility funds for other purposes, [Baltazar] wrote, were a key factor in the city's decision to stop buying uncontaminated water from the Detroit supply, and thus justified the choice to deny assistance.”

This argument is utterly ludicrous; due to complete ineptitude by Flint’s mayor and the Michigan government, the citizens of Flint were the ones to suffer lifelong health concerns—they, and thousands of children, had nothing to do with managing these “water and sewage fees.”

Miguel Del Toral, EPA’s water regulations manager, was one of the only people to speak up—he rightfully noted in his response that, “We spend more time trying to maintain state/local relationships than trying to protect the children…When all of this results in a town full of lead-poisoned children, doesn’t that mean anything to anyone?”

He concluded that, “We are heading down the…path of denial and delay and meanwhile, the children are being irreparably damaged.”

At least one individual had the moral fortitude to advocate on behalf of Flint and its residents.

Banner Image Credit: Twitter, @RWingFighter

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