Governor Snyder announced on Monday, March 21 a new 75-point action plan to address problems in Flint and throughout Michigan, the main issue being the lead-contaminated water. This plan coming after months of miniscule actions taken to help get safe water to residents of Flint.
The plan has short, intermediate, and long term goals which are divided into four sections of health & human services, water supply & infrastructure, education, and jobs & economic development. Some of these objectives, nine of 75, have already (literally) been checked off. A few of these include:
– Flint Action Team working in community and with Mayor’s Flint Recovery Team to attract, retain, and expand Flint business.
– Provide water instruction flyers in Spanish, Arabic, ASL, Hmong, Mandarin, and education on interpreting residential water testing results, and how the water/sewer bill credit program funded by the state will work.
– Employ Flint residents to facilitate community efforts to protect the water system.
– Continue Sentinel Sampling Program and public reporting
Other objectives which have not been checked off include removing lead lines based on “elevated blood level test results.” Meaning the objective is to not replace all lead lines, but replacing certain ones that test for higher lead contamination than others.
A second, long-term objective includes “support[ing] Flint’s smooth transition to KWA (Karegnondi Water Authority) water source.” Ha! The KWA transition is far from smooth. A greedy fight for dollars resulted in a terminated contract and an entire city left with contaminated water. A smooth transition would not have triggered a 75-point action plan to better monitor contaminations in our drinking water.
One could argue that some progress has been made. As of March 15th, round two of water testing showed 91.6 percent of homes were at or below federal action level of 15 parts per billion, while 8.4 percent are above 15 ppb. Round one testing had only 90.4 percent under federal action level and 9.6 were above 15 ppb. Is this progress to celebrate or proof that more needs to be done faster?
Unfortunately, many of these 75 objectives are simply ideals and do nothing in solving the immediate crisis at hand. “…campaign to help parents and community understand how nutrition can help lessen health impacts from lead exposure”? Sorry we poisoned you, here’s some facts on nutrition.
Not all the objectives are useless though. Replacing plumbing faucets in schools, daycares, and elderly homes is an important objective. It would also be great to see a “master plan for water infrastructure, utility upgrades, and roads.” Snyder’s proposal to have Flint, and all of Michigan, complying with a “much higher standard” than U.S. Lead & Copper Rule sounds superb, but where is all the money going to come from to achieve such objectives?
Snyder signed legislation which contributed $28 million to help out families in Flint obtain water and medical attention back in January. Since, $67 million has been acquired through state legislation. An estimated $232 million will be needed in state resources. No math required to figure out that there is a dramatic shortage in funds to take on a problem so big.
Skeptics be aware. More government lies, shortcuts, and PR schemes ahead.
It may just be me, but this plan seems to be more of a public relations ploy than legitimate action. It takes a year of lying before citizens of Flint are finally told they have lead in their water. Now, seven months later, we have this all mighty plan to fix everything. The people see through the bullshit. It’s known that not everyone goes to prison for their wrongdoings.
Following is a brief summary of Snyder’s proposed short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term solutions. Short-term (ST) meaning less than two months, intermediate-term (IT) meaning 2 – 4 months, and long-term (LT) will be “worked on until finalized.” Whatever that means.
Health & Human Services
– Add three additional Child and Adolescent Health Centers
– Give professional support to children under 6 with high blood pressure
– Provide real time notification to residents regarding disease report review/analysis
– Evaluate educational facilities for community needs
– All residents desiring a primary care physician relationship will have one
– Mobile Food Distribution program is meeting community needs geographically
Water Supply & Infrastructure
– Replace plumbing faucets/fixtures in public facilities
– Prioritize lead line removal based on water and elevated lead blood level test results
– Work with city to plan and prioritize lead pipe service line removal
– Prepare a best practices approach for individual locations with water lead levels greater than 15 ppb or children with blood lead levels greater than 5 micograms per deciliter
– Flint (& Michigan) will comply with a much higher standard than the existing U.S. Lead & Copper Rule requires
– Share and coordinate information, monitoring and testing protocols on a multi-agency basis to ensure water quality is maintained
– Hire 9 additional nurses for Flint Community Schools
– Expand breakfast program into all Flint Community Schools classrooms
– Provide and promote Great Start Readiness Program slots in Flint
– Partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield to facilitate salad bars at 20 additional schools
– Provide children up to age 4 with more quality daycare and early learning program options
– Summer EBT fully implemented for all families needing nutrition support
Jobs & Economic Development
– Appoint a Flint leader to the MEDC Executive Board of Directors
– Apply for U.S. Blight remediation funds (Hardest Hit Funds)
– Complete hiring of Flint residents for water resource sites
– Complete hiring of community liaison managers in each of Flint’s nine wards
– By 2018, get three new affordable housing developments underway/completed with Flint developers, supported by MSHDA
– Complete training and development for 500 Flint residents to achieve long term employment by the end of 2017.