Flint, Michigan has become the global poster child for environmental racism. Now the Senate is considering a vote that would help replace Flint's failed water system, but only in exchange for a slew of other crude conditions like LNG exports and coal subsidies. Click here to tell your senators not to play political chess with innocent lives and reject any Flint amendment that results in even more dirty deeds.
There is no way to contain the outrage I possess for the situation in Flint, MI. Our friend and preeminent Environmental Justice scholar Dr. Robert Bullard referred to the situation as, "a blatant example of environmental injustice."1 Film maker Michael Moore provided an even darker depiction of the reality facing the city's population stating, "...you cannot reverse the irreversible brain damage that has been inflicted upon every single child in Flint. ... They are ruined for life..."2
Meanwhile, our lawmakers have been pointing fingers at the local, state and national level. Each trying to exonerate themselves from blame while the citizens of Flint are still being charged for lead-laced water.3 While it's been great to see the benevolence of so many who have sent Flint thousands of gallons of bottled water, it's not a solution. That's why nearly 20,000 of us have already told our senators that Flint needs pipes not plastic bottles -- and it looks like they got the message, sort of.
Last week, Senate Democrats introduced an amendment to the larger Energy Bill sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that would allocate $400 million to fix Flint's contaminated water pipes.4 On the surface this seems like a great idea, and just what we've been asking for. Our wish would come at the price of an Energy Bill that subsidizes coal and increases fracking. That's why I need you to call your Senators today and tell them: Don't Use Flint As a Political Chess Piece. Click here to make the call.
I'm sure you know the saying, "No good deed goes unpunished." If this amendment is attached to the Energy Bill, it will epitomize this cliche -- and our climate would be punished the most. The Secretary of Energy would be forced to expedite exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) only 45 days after a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) review. The dying coal industry would be propped up by hundreds of millions in new subsidies at a moment scientists tell us we must leave fossil fuels in the ground.5
Proponents of the dirty energy bill could allow the Flint Amendment to pass, because it would help them sell their plan to give billions in profits to Big Oil and King Coal. Flint deserves justice, clean water and a 21st Century infrastructure, but the Senate shouldn't hold a lnG(un) to their heads to make it happen. The Senate should instead ditch this dirty energy bill and consider a clean bill that only addresses Flint's infrastructure. That way we can do what's right without climate killing emissions that disproportionately impact low-wealth communities of color like Flint in the first place.
We have no time to lose. The Senate is working fast to approve an Energy Bill as tainted as Flint's pipes by the end of the week,6 and we need to speak now to stop this meretricious amendment from being included. Click here to call your senators and let them know they shouldn't even think of partaking in a classic case of Quid Pro Flint.
Thank You for Sounding Off,
Anthony for Environmental Action
1. Bullard, Robert. Flint's Water Crisis is a Blatant Example of Environmental Injustice. The Conversation. January 22, 2016.
2. Michael Moore. A Letter to America from Michael Moore: How Can You Help Flint? Do Not Send Us Bottles of Water. Instead, Join Us in a Revolt.
3. Covert, Bryce. Residents of Flint are Bring Billed for Poisoned Water and Threatened With Shutoffs If They Don't Pay. ThinkProgress. January 14, 2016.
4. Daly, Matthew. Senate Dems Pitch $400 Million Fix For Lead Pipes in Flint. ABC News. January 28, 2016.
5. The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, Section-by-Section Analysis. September 2015.
6. Henry, Devin. Week Ahead: Senate Aims To Wrap Up Energy Reform Bill. The Hill. February 1, 2016.