Authorities have concluded what many have unfortunately already known.
That race and the economy were major factors behind the government’s racist-fueled decision to neglect the citizens of Flint, Michigan from the lead poisoned water that they were forced to consume for over two years.
An independent panel has concluded that disregard for the concerns of poor and minority people contributed to the government’s slow response to complaints from residents of Flint, Mich., about the foul and discolored water that was making them sick, determining that the crisis “is a story of government failure, intransigence, unpreparedness, delay, inaction and environmental injustice.”
The panel, which was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in October, when he first urged Flint’s nearly 100,000 residents to stop drinking the city’s tap water, laid blame for the water problems at the feet of government employees on every level.
It also validated complaints long argued by many Flint residents but largely dismissed by Mr. Snyder and others: that race and poverty contributed to the often scornful reactions to their complaints.
“Flint residents, who are majority black or African-American and among the most impoverished of any metropolitan area in the United States, did not enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards as that provided to other communities,” the report concluded.
In an interview after the report’s release, Ken Sikkema, a panel member and former state legislator, said the panel sought to raise a general alarm about the role of race and income, and to highlight inequities that may emerge in environmental responses.