New Criminal Charges by Schuette Does Not Address Flint Water Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Flint Rising

July 29, 2016

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, sam@progressmichigan.org

New Criminal Charges by Schuette Does Not Address Flint Water Crisis
Flint group says criminal charges of low-level employees does not fix Governor Snyder’s undemocratic, austerity polices; corporate interest culture

FLINT – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced criminal charges against six state employees related to the Flint Water Crisis. The AG and his team say that the employees hid and changed data on the quality of the water sources flowing into the city of Flint. However, community members from the city say this is not enough and does not address the austerity measures that led to these decisions, the undemocratic, unelected emergency manager system that stifled public input and oversight, and the corporate, special interest culture that Governor Snyder pushed on state departments. Residents also point out, above all, they still do not have access to clean, safe water from their faucets and that days continue to go by without damaged service lines being replaced.

“Attorney General Schuette continues to call these news conferences looking for a pat on the back because he has charged low-level employees,” said Nayyirah Shariff of the Flint Democracy Defense League and Flint Rising. “While complete accountability for what happened that caused the poisoning of a city is essential, the Attorney General and his team still have not gotten to the root cause of the crisis. Governor Snyder’s unelected Emergency Managers stifled the voices of Flint residents; we were raising concerns long before the Attorney General rode his horse into town. Snyder’s only focus was to implement austerity measures and appease corporate interests – that’s what the AG should focus on. Also, everyone in Flint wants to know, when will we be able to get clean, safe water directly from our taps without a filter?”

The residents of Flint are well into the third summer of dealing with the water crisis and not being able to safely use the water from their faucets, with temperatures reaching above 90 degrees. While state officials try to paint a picture of things returning to normal, many reject the notion that living out of cases of bottled water is normal. Community members and those with the Flint Rising coalition have consistently demanded the replacement of all damaged service lines, 100 percent reimbursement of all water bills dating back to April of 2014, when concerns of water quality began to arise, and complete wraparound health and education services for those who have been affected by the water crisis.

“Things are not normal in Flint,” said Melissa Mays, a Flint resident and activist with Water You Fighting For and Flint Rising. “Governor Snyder and his team may try to spin things to appear that way, but no one should think that showering, cooking, and drinking out of bottles of water is normal. If Schuette wants to seek justice for Flint residents, he should go after everyone who had involvement in this crisis, starting at the top in the Governor’s office and he should demand that all damaged services lines be replaced immediately.”

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Flint Rising is a coalition of community organizations and allies working to ensure that directly impacted people are building the organizing infrastructure and leadership necessary for this long-haul fight for justice and creating the future that Flint families need and deserve. For more information, please visit www.flintrising.com