We Stand With Flint. Will You Join Us?

The city of Flint is in crisis. The water, once safe to drink, has been contaminated by high levels of toxic lead for nearly three years.

It began in April 2014, when an unelected, state-appointed emergency manager tried to cut costs by switching the city’s water source to the local Flint River. But the water from the industrialized river turned out to be extremely corrosive, leaching lead from aging pipes into the drinking water. Even worse, the city officials failed to treat the water with anti-corrosives, as required by federal regulations.

Residents immediately noticed the change and repeatedly asked whether this discolored, awful-smelling water was safe to drink. State and federal officials assured them it was – but it wasn’t. The local United Way estimates that as many as 12,000 children may have been exposed to lead. Shockingly, these same people are paying some of the highest water rates in the country – for water they can’t use.

Imagine being forced to shower in cold water in the middle of a Michigan winter because hot water destroys water filters in mere days; to have to bathe your child with bottled water; to tell your children they can’t drink the water in their own homes; to watch their hair and teeth fall out; to worry that they will be part of a lost generation.

This community has suffered far too long. Access to clean, healthy water is a basic American right and we owe it to the people of Flint to help them recover from a drinking water disaster they did not create. The only way to solve the crisis in Flint is to replace the city’s damaged lead service lines that continue to contaminate the city’s water supply.

Working with the leaders of Flint — including groups like the Flint NAACP, Genesee County Hispanic Latino Collaborative, Flint Rising, Community Based Organization Partners, local unions, and the faith community — the National Wildlife Federation has joined with over one hundred social justice, faith, labor, community, business, environmental, and public health organizations who are standing with Flint.

Earlier this year, House and Senate each made bipartisan commitments to help the people of Flint in the water resources bill. Now, it’s time for Congress to deliver on these promises. The Senate version guarantees $100 million in immediate funding for Flint and provides funding for other communities with high lead levels. The House version authorizes Congress to spend money repairing Flint’s infrastructure, but does not provide funding. The fate of the water resources bill is uncertain, but funding for Flint could also be included in the end of year spending bill. Whatever the vehicle, Congress needs to provide robust federal aid to Flint before the end of the session.

Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver urges Congress to help Flint and to heed the warning Flint's drinking water disaster heralds for the rest of the country.
Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver urges Congress to help Flint and to heed the warning Flint’s drinking water disaster heralds for the rest of the country.

There have been several Congressional champs who have stood up for Flint and continue to keep this issue in the spotlight. Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee, Senator Debbie Stabenow and Senator Gary Peters have led the charge to secure federal funding to help Flint. Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe and Michigan Congressman Fred Upton have also stood with Flint as Congress negotiates ways to provide Flint with the aid they need to begin recovery. Flint’s Mayor Karen Weaver, has been a courageous leader in the wake of this crisis and fought tirelessly to help her city.

Flint has been waiting for too long. The television cameras left over a year ago, yet the crisis remains today. Regardless of whether Flint funding is included in the spending bill or in this year’s water resources bill, this immediate federal relief must be provided before the year ends.

How to Help

  1. Join our Social Media Thunderclap
  2. Take action to contact your member of Congress to let them know you support immediate aid for Flint.
  3. Tweet using #FixFlintNow and including the Fix Flint Now image.

Here’s an example: “Fixing the pipes in Flint, MI can’t wait. Before they adjourn for the year, let your members of Congress know it’s time to #FixFlintNow!”

  1. Share your support on Facebook using #FixFlintNow and the Fix Flint Now image below.

Here’s an example: “Tell Congress that fixing the pipes in Flint, Michigan can’t wait. Before they adjourn for the year, let your members of Congress know it’s time to #FixFlintNow!”

Please use this image to help spread the word: