Obama Accused of ‘Criminal Neglect’ as He Heads to Flint Michigan

Obama Accused of ‘Criminal Neglect’ as He Heads to Flint Michigan

US President Barack Obama heads to the beleaguered Michigan city of Flint Wednesday for a briefing, community meeting, and speech amid allegations of “wilful and criminal neglect” over its poison water crisis.

A former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policy analyst and whistleblower criticized Obama for his lack of action, two years after austerity measures instituted by Governor Rick Snyder’s emergency managers poisoned the city’s water supply with lead.

“Perhaps the trip to Flint is an attempt to place a bandage on an ugly chapter of willful and criminal neglect in Obama’s presidential legacy or simply an obscene checkmark on his political bucket list,” wrote Dr Marsha Coleman-Adebayo on a blog post titled A Day Late and a Dollar Short: Mr Obama Goes to Flint, citing the unrest following the shootings of unarmed Black men such as Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.

The sentiments echo those of Flint filmmaker Michael Moore, who pleaded with the President last week to urgently help with the ongoing crisis, warning riots could happen soon.




The Oscar-winning director, along with a number of his fellow residents, called on Obama to #ArrestGovSnyder, adding that Michigan’s right-wing leader “has now killed more Americans than ISIS”.

Snyder will meet with the president in Flint for a briefing, where the governor’s spokesperson told ABC that they are“hopeful the president will drink the water in Flint, to help reinforce Gov Snyder’s actions and the EPA’s message that filtered Flint water is safe to drink.”

Snyder claims he is currently drinking tap water from Flint for 30 days in an attempt to prove it is safe for consumption.

However, the White House press secretary said Monday that he is unaware of any plan for the President to be seen publicly downing a glass of Flint’s finest, although he has done photo ops consuming other liquids in the past.

The issue has been ongoing since April 2014 when the city’s water source was changed in an attempt to save money.

The new source was left untreated with anti-corrosives, resulting in lead from supply lines seeping into the water and contaminating the supply.

The water has since been switched back to its original source, but the lead in the lines is still present.




 

Despite complaints from residents in Flint, state officials insisted the water was safe to drink for a year and a half.

Some 12 Flint residents died during an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which some believe is connected to lead contamination.

Congressman Gerry Connolly pressed Snyder during a hearing in March about his emergency managers and austerity economics.

“This is a failure of a philosophy of governance that you advocate,” the Democrat from Virginia told the Republican from Michigan. “The taint and the stain that state government has put on this country in the form of Flint will be a long time being erased. At some point, the buck stops at your office.”

 

Despite the longevity and seriousness of the situation, Obama did not announce he would visit the city until last week, after receiving a letter from an eight-year-old girl who lives on bottled water and is restricted to 60-second showers so she doesn’t make the rashes caused by lead any worse.

A federal court found the EPA guilty of violating Coleman-Adebayo’s civil rights in 2000 during the George W Bush administration. She’s now on the board of directors for the National Whistleblowers Center.

Air Force One will arrive in Flint Bishop International Airport just before 12 p.m. EST where the president will be briefed by Flint officials. He will speak at Flint Northwestern High School at 4 p.m. EST and then fly back to Washington for an evening speech at the $250-per-plate Gala Awards Dinner sponsored by bottled-water retailer Walmart, Japanese automaker Toyota, and the American Petroleum Institute.

RT will be covering the visit throughout the day.

 





Source: RT News

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