Obama Declares Flint Water Crisis a Federal Emergency

The White House authorizes assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief efforts
Obama Declares Flint Water Crisis a Federal Emergency
The Flint River in Flint, Michigan (photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers).

President Obama has declared the water-contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, a federal emergency. The designation lets the city accept $5 million in assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

According to a White House press release, FEMA will provide equipment and resources “necessary to alleviate the impacts of emergency.” This includes water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits and other necessary related items.

In 2014, the City of Flint temporarily switched its water source from treated Lake Huron water purchased from Detroit to the Flint River until the city could hook up to a new regional water pipeline. The Flint River, however, has more corrosive water than lake water, which caused aging pipes to leach lead into tap water. The city’s residents were then exposed to high levels of lead.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder also asked for a disaster declaration, which was denied. Under federal law, only natural disasters qualify for such a designation. According to a Detroit Free Press article, Snyder’s application said up to $55 million would be needed to repair damaged lead service lines and $41 million would be needed for several months of water distribution to residents.

“We’re planning to appeal,” said Snyder spokesman Dave Murray in a Detroit News article. “We want to exhaust every opportunity to bring potential resources to Flint.”

Source: Detroit NewsDetroit Free Press


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