Editor’s note: Below are excerpts from a letter by representatives of Flint activist groups to the judge ruling over a lawsuit against the city of Flint by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
Dear Judge Lawson,
Residents of Flint continue to suffer the effects of having ingested toxic water, laced with lead and harmful bacteria, for nearly four years. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has audaciously brought [a] lawsuit that is now in your courtroom to force the City of Flint and Flint residents to make [a] decision [to switch the city’s water source] on their timeline. We do NOT stand with any long-term water source that is brought to us under duress in a time of crisis.
The long-suffering residents of Flint are grappling with the following:
1. We are outraged that the MDEQ would dare to bring a lawsuit against the very city they poisoned … the MDEQ was named as being almost wholly the “culprit” agency behind the Flint water crisis … this makes the lawsuit … null and void.
2. Due to Michigan’s Public Act 436 of 2012, known as the Emergency Manager (EM) Law, signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder, the people’s right to democratic process was wholly suspended … three successive EMs were involved, two of whom have since had felony charges brought against them for their role in the water crisis. Public Act 436 made it so that any vote the people made could be overturned … Thus, the EM Law created an autocracy. It was the EM who made the decision to go to the Flint River, while another EM oversaw the switch … Neither that EM, nor his successor EM recommended going back to Lake Huron, even as problems and public distress mounted. The Flint City Council voted to return to Detroit water as the city’s water source in March, 2015, but this decision was reversed. Although General Motors was allowed to return in October, 2014, our city’s residents were disallowed from doing so. Furthermore, it was the MDEQ who counseled the powers that be at the time that using the anti-corrosive treatment to treat the Flint River water was unnecessary … with nothing in place to keep the corrosive river water from leeching lead from the water pipes of our aging infrastructure, lead and Legionella bacteria entered our city’s water supply and poisoned adults and children alike, causing a massive public health crisis. That was a direct result of this dictatorship… That the people’s democracy was suspended and decisions made without our voices or votes heard … that makes this lawsuit a sham and should be null and void.
3. The residents of Flint have yet to be compensated from the $25 million lawsuit brought by former Councilman Scott Kincaid against the City of Flint for the illegal water rates … during the time we were on Flint River water.…
4. Residents have been shut out of communication surrounding the contract with GLWA.…
We appreciate your consideration. We whole-heartedly believe that access to clean water is a human right and any agreement that does not recognize this fundamental need is unacceptable.
Read full letter on Facebook: FlintH20Justice