Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, whose administration poisoned the people of Flint by leaving a cheap additive out of the drinking water, said he was sorry—again.
The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, whose agency covered up the toxic blunder in Flint and for years ignored warnings of a nationwide lead-water crisis, bizarrely argued that this was all Snyder’s fault. No apologies.
Snyder and McCarthy testified Thursday before a committee of Democratic and Republican lawmakers grandstanding for the television cameras, reading talking points drafted by political operatives—Democrats attacking Snyder, Republicans attacking McCarthy. Congress has yet to offer a single dollar to help fix Flint.
Most media organization treated the hearing like a he-said, she-said story, but one report stood out for me: a nearly 13-minute segment on PBS NewsHour anchored by Judy Woodruff. “It’s impossible to separate [the water crisis] from the politics,” she said, “but we’ll try.”
Then she interviewed Marc Edwards, the hero-researcher at Virginia Tech whose team helped expose malfeasance at every level of government. At the 6:30 mark here, Edwards succinctly and powerfully cuts through the BS.
Judy Woodruff: What would you add to where the responsibility lies here?
Marc Edwards: It’s very clear that Governor Snyder was guilty of not listening to the complaints of residents of Flint and he was guilty of being overly trusting of both the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA, and he’s accepted that blame. I mean, he called it his Katrina, and he also now wants to be part of the solution.
But I think the thing that concerns me most is [McCarthy’s] testimony, which I find to be outrageous and Orwellian.
Woodruff: In what way?
Edwards: Well, for example, they said the EPA whistleblower’s memo that blew the lid off of this back in July was inconclusive when in fact it proved that the entire city was in danger.
The EPA again today claimed that they didn’t know whether they could enforce federal law. [Sarcastic chuckle] The EPA didn’t know whether they could enforce the federal law or not?
They also said they were strong-armed by the state. I mean, how can you be strong-armed by someone you’re supposed to be supervising?
And even more outrageous is the claim that they warned Flint residents in July that the water was not safe to drink when in fact, when Virginia Tech—our team—tried to warn people in July, August, and September that the water was unsafe, we had to fight the EPA. [The] EPA said nothing to back us up.
They are a major part of what went wrong in in Flint, and for them to sit there and act like they’ve done nothing went wrong is, again, outrageous and Orwellian.
Edwards, who helped uncover a lead water crisis in Washington years ago, said his team has long warned the EPA about a silent crisis: Millions of American outside Flint are unknowingly drinking poison from their kitchen sinks.