Update: Shortly after making a deal to send much needed funds to Flint, MI, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Orin Hatch have reneged, leaving negotiations in limbo for at least a week. Click here to donate $5 or more to help us keep the pressure on until Flint residents get the relief they need.
The people of Flint, MI, are still suffering and unable to drink or use their water, as guaranteed to every U.S. citizen. But the Senate is not acting in haste, instead they are squabbling over a dirty energy bill that is literally holding these citizens hostage. Last week, Climate-Denier-In-Chief James Inhofe (R-OK) floated a deal that would make Flint residents essentially choose between drinking clean water or breathing clean air1-- it was wisely rejected by Senate Democrats.
In the last 48 hours, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) rejected a deal that would send over $300 million to fix the city's tainted infrastructure and provide medical assistance to residents, including children, adversely impacted by lead exposure. And get this, they rejected the deal because it would take money away from a fund to pay for golf courses -- talk about a major bogey.
Enough is enough, the Senate is breaking for a week, while in Flint, children will struggle with the impacts of lead poisoning for their entire lives. If these Senators think they're going home scott free, they have another thing coming. We want to keep the pressure on until they understand that Flint must be delivered justice without haste and without compromise. Click here to chip in $5 or more to help us flood their phones until they do right by Flint.
Even Gov. Rick Snyder is wiling to act swiftly -- although not forcefully enough, and certainly not without guilt for causing the crisis. This week he proposed a budget for Michigan that dedicates $195 million for Flint aid including $25 million for lead pipe removal.2 Even this villain can see the light, and our senators need to do the same.
Yet for the second time in as many months, Senate Democrats are negotiating to legalize and expedite exports of fossil fuels in exchange for an unrelated good idea. In exchange for an expedite on exports of fracked gas and a permanent extension of the land and water conservation fund they will now receive barely $50 million in up front aid for Flint. Even that paltry sum is being held up because Democrats want to tie it to aid that will fight the spread of the Zika virus.3
Over 1,500 of us have made toll-free calls to the Senate already. But this awesome effort has only delayed, not derailed the bill. This is a big undertaking we couldn't have foreseen or budgeted for a few months ago -- and almost none of the other big "green groups" are fighting hard like we are. So I'm asking for your help: Please chip in $5, $50 or more to help us deliver justice for Flint and our climate and then share this with your friends and family?
Thanks for standing up,
Anthony and the climate chaos abolitionists at Environmental Action.
1. Burke, Melissa Nann. Senate Democrats Block Energy Bill Over Flint Aid. The Detroit News. February 4, 2016.
2. NBC25 Newsroom. Gov. Snyder Announces $195 Million For Flint. Februaru 10, 2016.
3. Tom Howell Jr., Democrats say Republicans not serious on Zika, Flint lead, The Washington Times, February 9, 2016
Drew Hudson, Flint and the climate moderate, Environmental Action Blog, January 29, 2016