Following an initial $5 million allocation to battle Flint’s corroded water system, President Obama on Thursday announced his administration would give the city $80 million in federal funding to assist in the water crisis poisoning thousands — a growing scandal that has sparked resignation requests from citizens for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Snyder declared a state of emergency in Flint last month, although the contamination began in 2014. In a cost-cutting effort, the city switched its water supply source from Lake Huron (treated by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department) to Flint River water, a contaminated source that caused lead to seep into the pipes. By the time the source was switched back, the pipes were already corroded.
In an interview with CBS News Wednesday, Snyder apologetically reiterated that the water in Flint was not safe for the city’s 100,000 residents.
On Thursday, during a U.S. Conference of Mayors event at the White House, Obama weighed in on the dangerous levels of lead in the drinking water:
“Our children should not have to be worried about the water that they’re drinking in American cities, that’s not something that we can accept.”
While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has vowed to take immediate action to “protect public health,” Region 5 Director Susan Hedman — who oversees Flint — has resigned. The resignation will be effective Feb. 1, according to NBC News:
The agency said Hedman’s resignation was accepted “given Susan’s strong interest in ensuring that EPA Region 5’s focus remains solely on the restoration of Flint’s drinking water,” suggesting her position could be a distraction.
The EPA this week called Michigan’s response to the water crisis “inadequate,” announcing an emergency order to address the water, which has led to thousands of lead poisoning cases in the city.
“There are serious, ongoing concerns with delays, lack of adequate transparency, and capacity to safely manage the drinking water system,” the EPA said in a statement.
You can read more on the latest in the Flint Water Crisis, here.