WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 19, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today testified before a meeting of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) about the Flint water crisis and changes to federal policy that can be made to promote transparency and accountability for city residents. A full transcript of Congressman Kildee’s testimony can be viewed here.
The NDWAC, made up of members of the public as well as state and local agencies, considers issues and advises the EPA Administrator on issues concerning drinking water protection and public drinking water systems.
“What happened in Flint is a failure of government, and we must ensure that it never happens again to Flint or any other community,” Congressman Kildee said. “The EPA has the ultimate responsibility to ensure that drinking water standards are followed. Any new federal rules, including changes to the Lead and Copper Rule, must promote greater transparency and accountability to restore public confidence, help protect public health, and ensure the safety of drinking water.”
For months, Congressman Kildee has been advocating for immediate resources from the state and federal government to help victims of the crisis and make much-needed improvements to Flint’s water distribution system.
In a letter sent last week to Gov. Rick Snyder, Congressman Kildee called for the state of Michigan to create a fund for ongoing assistance to Flint residents to respond to the short and long-term impacts of lead exposure.
“In discussions with health professionals, they have expressed the need for significant investments in the local health system in order to respond to the widespread exposure of lead to the people of Flint, including monitoring of future lead exposure. This fund should include support for, at a minimum, continuous health monitoring, early education programs, nutrition education, support services for children to succeed in school, and continued exposure efforts,” Congressman Kildee’s letter reads in part.
“We cannot sit back and do nothing and allow our Flint kids to become added statistics in regards to the consequences of lead poisoning,” said Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the director of Hurley Medical Center’s Pediatric Residency Program. “We have an incredible opportunity to proactively build a model public health program that prevents these consequences. By investing in our kids now, especially our youngest, we have the ability to limit many of the long-term consequences of lead.”
Last month, Dr. Hanna-Attisha, along with Dr. Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech, participated in a telephone town hall hosted by Congressman Kildee to update Flint residents about ongoing efforts related to the water crisis. Over 4,000 people joined the call and had their questions answered directly by Congressman Kildee and experts.
In addition to a public health fund, Congressman Kildee also has repeatedly pushed the state of Michigan to forgive loans to the city of Flint under the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund in order to free up millions of dollars that could be used to replace lead service lines.
Last week, after Congressman Kildee’s request, the EPA announced that it would audit the state of Michigan’s water quality program after the state admitted it failed to use the correct protocols when it switched the city of Flint’s drinking water source. Previously, Congressman Kildee had also successfully pushed for federal technical advisors to come to Flint as well as for the creation of an EPA task force to provide expertise to the city and state.