Tag Archives: water

People of Flint demand continued water distribution

State shows it values corporate profits over public safety

Residents, outraged by the announced end of water distribution in Flint and insulted by the Nestle water giveaway days earlier, spoke out Monday to tell how the decision would affect them and present solutions to guarantee everyone can get water they can trust. They reject the idea that every house has safe water because a small sample was under the threshold for lead when thousands of homes still have lead service lines. “And Lead is not the only problem.” Said Michigan United organizer, LaShaya Darisaw. “Legionella bacteria was responsible for a dozen Flint deaths. We need to test for bacteria and other contaminants in all homes before we even consider ending water distribution.”

SAM_1801Tony Paciorek is one Flint resident who depends on water distribution for his daily needs. “It takes 3 bottles of water to make my coffee. 4 if I want oatmeal.” Paciorek said he’d have to pay about $2.67 a gallon for the bottled water after Nestle marks up the price 70,000%. “This is a clear example of how the economy is rigged in favor of the wealthy and their corporations. Those who can least afford it pay the most for water while companies like Nestle practically get it for free.”

Michigan United is calling for a boycott of all Nestle products until everyone in Flint has safe water. Nestle produces Perrier, Poland Springs, Pure Life & Pellegrino bottled waters and other drinks such as Nescafe, Nesquik and Nestea. They also make dog foods like Alpo, baby food like Gerber and adult foods like Hot Pockets and Haagen Dazs.

SAM_1817Monica Galloway, one of several Flint city councilmembers to oppose ending water distribution stood with those affected. “For Governor Rick Snyder to end water distribution in Flint is injustice that clearly demonstrates that inequity and inequality still exist in America.” said Galloway. “This is not about a handout from the State this is about the state righting a wrong.”

Besides continued water distribution and reversing the Nestle deal, Michigan United is calling for a state budget that includes money designated for water testing, Medicaid expansion to cover everyone who has lived or worked in Flint since 2014, and an end to the Emergency Manager Law that led to the water crisis.

Grassroots environmental groups meet with state officials to keep toxins out of water, air

Disposal company wants to expand operation near Hamtramck, Gov. Snyder delays CPP

The Coalition to Oppose the Expansion protested outside state offices in Detroit Thursday and demanded a meeting with officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to discuss the impact of a toxic waste disposal company on the safety of Detroit’s water system and the need for a Clean Power Plan (CPP) to improve air quality. US Ecology is seeking permission to expand its operation while activists want the opposite.

Photo Credit: Shanna Merola
Photo Credit: Shanna Merola

A contingent from the group went inside and delivered their demands to a representative of the MDEQ:

  • Stop the 10-fold expansion of this hazardous waste plant.
  • Stop dumping toxic and radioactive waste and contaminating Detroit’s water.
  • Continue forward with the CPP state implementation process and support Michigan efforts to move forward with the Clean Power Plan (CPP.)
  • Conduct public input hearings in communities across the state that are most impacted by carbon pollution to hear how this pollution impacts our daily lives.

“We are coming together to let the state of Michigan and MDEQ know that they have completely failed us on all fronts.” Said Valerie Jean of the Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands (DCATS). “We’re demanding that they deny the permit for the expansion of US Ecology and stop poisoning Detroit!”

US Ecology transports, treats, and disposes of radioactive, chemical and hazardous waste such as PCB. Liquid waste, containing arsenic, cadmium, cyanide, lead is then dumped into the Detroit public sewerage system. The company wants ramp up output and increase their storage capacity from 64,000 gallons of hazardous waste to 666,000 gallons. But expansion of the plant on Georgia street has raised safety questions among some of those who live in the area. The facility is located within a mile of a number of schools, houses of worship, a hospital and a senior center.

Meanwhile in 48217, the state’s most polluted zip code, the Marathon refinery continues to expose residents to toxins that cause a wide variety of health problems.  When President Obama decided to issue rules for energy production that would address such problems, Governor Snyder said Michigan would come up with its own CPP rules.  But when the Federal plan was challenged in court, Snyder halted the process here.

“Our communities are being poisoned and for too long big energy companies have profited from the destruction. They’ve left communities like Detroit with dirty air, poisoned water and dangerous, dead-end jobs.” said Michigan United’s Emma Lockridge, a resident in 48217 “It’s time for MDEQ’s rubber stamp to dry up. We need them to put the people and the planet over profits and corporate polluters.”

6 Things You Can Do right now to Support the people of Flint, MI

We’ve all heard about the crisis in Flint: lead and other contaminants leaching into the water due to gross negligence at all levels of government.
Response and recovery is going to be a long process, and Michigan United is committed to supporting Flint for the long-haul.
What can you do?
1) Take action! Click HERE to sign up to volunteer today.
Regular canvasses and events are being held to identify and inform people who are directly impacted and connect them to the resources they will need in the coming weeks and months.
2) Donate to the Genesee Hispanic-Latino Collaborative.
The Collaborative is working to ensure that immigrants get access to the information and resources they need. Many didn’t find out about the water problems until recently, and are disenfranchised from the city’s normal water distribution system.
3) Donate water directly. 

asuvpodnwzcumkyioa2gIf you live in the Detroit area, you can bring bottled water to the Michigan United Office at 4405 Wesson Street between 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Donors in the Flint area can take water to St. Mary’s Church, 2500 North Franklin between 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM.
4) Join Michigan United’s Environmental Justice team in Detroit.

We’re going to need a strong team fighting for clean water and a just recovery all across the state.

5) Attend the Michigan United meeting in Flint.

Thursday, January 28th, at 6:00 PM at 1st Unitarian Universalist Church, 2474 South Ballenger Highway. We’ll be talking about what next steps we can take together to address the causes of the crisis and hold the politicians who caused it accountable. RSVP to rae@npa-us.org to take part.

6) Speak out!
Do you know someone who has been impacted by the crisis? Michigan United is working with our partners to ensure that local families have their voices heard in the media. We’re looking for Flint residents, especially families with small children, that might be willing to tell their story to the press. We’ll provide training and support. Contact Erik Shelley at erik@miunited.org.

Flint’s water problem wasn’t inevitable.

It’s happening because politicians acted with callous disregard for the lives of low-income families and communities of color. This is what happens when the legislature takes away the right of a community to vote for their own local leadership.
We’ll work hard to support the immediate needs of residents and hope you will too. But as we work for the long-haul, we need to be equally committed to fighting for a just recovery and to overturning the laws that caused this problem in the first place.