Flint, Michigan is still dealing with the contamination of its water supply and former EPA administrator Christie Todd Whitman says, “This is a monumental failure of government at all levels.”
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“I know that there was a monitor put in by the governor of the City of Flint. But the mayor could still have raised a lot more havoc than they did,” she said during an interview with the FOX Business Network’s Charles Payne.
After switching from Detroit’s municipal system to the Flint River in 2014, Flint’s water became polluted with lead and according to Whitman, the state ignored some of these findings.
“The first responsibility for testing that water rests with the state, the State Department of Environmental Protection -- and they are subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act and they are meant to convey those results to the EPA,” she said.
She also argued that the EPA had the ability, under a provision in the Safe Drinking Water Act, to force the state to take actions necessary to prevent the leaching of lead into the water.
“It does seem as if the regional office there for a while was believing what they were hearing, not looking at the test results in the way that they should have,” she said.
Although these measures were taken to help the financially burdened city, Whitman says the crisis could have been prevented early on.
“Once you saw the quality of the water, once the people started to come forward with water that looked like stale beer, and the smell and seeing some of the problems that they had, they should have immediately taken action then... It’s more expensive now to deal with the pipes and they are going to have to do some major work. There were chemicals they could have added early on that would have prevented the leaching of the lead.”