Gov’t should treat Flint water crisis

by Daily Editorial Board

On Jan. 16, President Barack Obama announced a state of emergency for the impoverished city of Flint, Mich. The city is facing a water crisis which stemmed from city officials’ decision to change the source of the city’s water from Lake Huron to the Flint River. 
A plethora of independent investigations confirmed the presence of corrosives and high concentrations of lead in the water, and many people in Flint have put forth complaints about health problems resulting from the water’s toxicity. Yet only recently have state and local government officials accepted that the water crisis is an issue. 
The federal government has largely responded to the crisis by condemning the inaction of government officials and conducting thorough investigations via the Environmental Protection Agency. 
However, while investigations are vital to ensure accountability and procedures for justice, we believe the focus of federal efforts should first be on treating the water and addressing the health crisis in Flint. 
Obama recently denied Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s request for $96M in disaster relief funds, instead allocating $5M for emergency aid and $80M to finance the construction of long-term water infrastructure for the state. 
Holding Michigan’s government accountable is important, but more federal funding should be allocated to provide immediate relief for the people of Flint. We urge the federal government to allocate more immediately usable funds so that efforts to treat civilians, detoxify affected piping and purify water are feasible.