President Obama went to Detroit on Wednesday, and during his visit, he addressed the continuing water crisis facing residents of nearby Flint.
While in Detroit, Obama gave a speech to a crowd of auto workers and their families at a joint General Motors-United Auto Workers facility. He began his remarks by speaking about the man-made disaster that has caused an entire town to be subject to a poisoned water supply.
“If I was a parent in Flint, I’d be beside myself over my kids’ health,” Obama said. He added that it is not acceptable for the government to “shortchange basic services that we provide to our people.”
Although Obama didn’t visit Flint during Wednesday’s trip, Nicole Lurie, the deputy secretary for preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services was sent to the struggling city by the administration to coordinate federal efforts.
On Tuesday, President Obama met with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver at the White House to discuss the water crisis.
A statement issued by White House officials describing the meeting said the Commander in Chief had “heard firsthand how the residents of Flint are dealing with the ongoing public health crisis, and the challenges that still exist for the city, its residents, and the business community.”
Residents of Flint are now completely reliant on bottled water after officials discovered that the water from the Flint river was not being treated properly for its corrosive properties, resulting in staggeringly high amounts of lead leaching into the water from the pipes.
The crisis has sparked political backlash, with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, coming under sharp criticism for their failure to act sooner. Residents feel their complaints about water quality were ignored for far too long, with officials insisting for years that the water was safe.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, has called for Gov. Snyder’s resignation, but so far he has staunchly refused to step down.
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