Reprinted from Smirking Chimp
Early Thursday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver met in Lansing to discuss how the city and the state will manage the ongoing lead contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan.
On Tuesday, Governor Snyder declared a state of emergency for Genesee County, the county surrounding Flint.
After today's meeting, Snyder spoke generally about setting up an inter-governmental agency group to work with the State Emergency Operations Center.
He also admitted that this "should have never happened."
But what he never really addressed -- is why this is happening to begin with.
And that's probably because the blame lies squarely on Snyder's shoulders, and because he knows that he should probably to go to jail for it.
The whole story starts back in 2011, when a new financial emergency management law in the state took effect, allowing Governor Snyder to unilaterally ignore democratically-elected mayors and city councils, and appoint little dictators called "emergency managers" in cities and districts that were in financial trouble.
In other words, it gave Governor Snyder the authority to appoint city dictators to "cut costs" and "balance budgets."
For Governor Snyder and his appointed dictators, as good Republicans, that means doing whatever it takes to gut spending on essential services, and privatizing everything else of value off to their billionaire buddies.
In Flint, that meant that back in April of 2014 the city switched its water source from the Detroit Water system, which comes from Lake Huron, and instead started using the Flint River for its municipal water.
The problem is: Flint has been the home of General Motors since 1908, and it was one of the biggest car manufacturing towns in the country, until Bill Clinton's so-called "free trade" killed much of the US auto-industry in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Those factories used Flint River water for manufacturing, and for waste disposal.
So the Flint River has been the site of industrial processing ever since 1908, and it doesn't take much to realize that over a century later, the river is hardly suitable for drinking.
Filmmaker and Flint-native Michael Moore put it plainly in a letter addressed to the governor yesterday.
He explained that "[Gov. Rick Snyder] cut off the clean, fresh glacial lake water of Lake Huron that the citizens of Flint ["] had been drinking for decades and, instead, made them drink water from the industrial cesspool we call the Flint River, a body of "water" where toxins from a dozen General Motors and DuPont factories have been dumped for over a hundred years."