Flint, Michigan will receive at least $100 million to begin funding the needed work of replacing lead service lines that deliver drinking water throughout the city, with the Senate’s passage today of the Water Resources Development Act. However, the bill also included a rider that rolls back environmental protections in California’s Bay-Delta estuary.
The following is a statement by Scott Slesinger, legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“Federal funding to help begin fixing the pipes at the heart of the Flint water crisis is shamefully overdue. This is a start, but far more is needed to fix Flint and ensure safe drinking water to communities across America.
“We should not have to trade delinquent Congressional action in Michigan for the erosion of endangered species protection and a threat to fishing jobs in California, but that is the result of the partisan games at play in this bill.
“In spite of the poison pill rider gutting federal protections in California, we will redouble our efforts to protect the Bay-Delta. We are grateful to the leadership of Senator Boxer, Senator Cantwell, and all of the other members who opposed this rider to stand up for fishing jobs and a healthy environment.
“Despite the active resistance of Republican leadership to providing Flint with needed resources, the continued efforts from Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, and Flint Congressman Dan Kildee — along with recent leadership by Representative Fred Upton — will finally bring needed funding more than two years after the water crisis emerged.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.