Sanders: Michigan Governor Must Resign over Flint Lead-Poisoning Crisis

By Common Dreams staff | ( | – –

Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday called on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to resign for his administration’s failure to deal with a lead-poisoning crisis that has sickened thousands of children in Flint, Michigan.

“There are no excuses. The governor long ago knew about the lead in Flint’s water. He did nothing. As a result, hundreds of children were poisoned. Thousands may have been exposed to potential brain damage from lead. Gov. Snyder should resign,” Sanders said.

Problems with Flint’s public water system date to a decision nearly two years ago by a receiver, appointed by the governor, who decided to cut costs by drawing the city’s drinking water from the polluted Flint River instead of from Lake Huron.

The governor and other state officials knew – but did not acknowledge until last fall – that the river water was corroding pipes and causing lead to leach into the drinking water. The decision not to add chemicals to prevent corrosion of the pipes was made at the direction of the governor’s Department of Environmental Quality. The state health department in Michigan apparently knew about elevated lead levels in the blood of children but did not warn the public.

“Because of the conduct by Gov. Snyder’s administration and his refusal to take responsibility, families will suffer from lead poisoning for the rest of their lives. Children in Flint will be plagued with brain damage and other health problems. The people of Flint deserve more than an apology,” Sanders said.

City official were under renewed fire on Friday for sending out shut-off notices to residents who are behind on paying their water bills.

Slammed as “ludicrous, the move comes as Republican Governor Rick Snyder finally asked President Obama to step in and declare a federal state of emergency.

The Michigan attorney general and the federal Justice Department are also investigating whether any laws were broken.

Via , Creative Commons License 3.0.


Related video added by Juan Cole:

CBS Evening News: “Flint, Michigan residents call for governor’s resignation”

8 Responses

  1. Governor Snyder’s longtime chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, has announced his resignation, effective January 20th – without stating any reason.

    A safe level of lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion (pbb), per EPA rules, however the generally recognized level that causes concern where children are involved is only 5 pbb.

    A Virginia Tech professor took multiple tests from a number of Flint homes at various flow levels.

    He was astonished when the highest lead content test result was 13,000 ppb. This level of lead toxicity was unprecedented in his 25 years as a researcher. The children in that household had been diagnosed with lead poisoning.

  2. Just Me

    @astorkinhand don’t let him resign until you take the bastard into custody and charge him with negligent homicide, and bribery! .

  3. I don’t see how it could be that laws were not broken. If not, then the government is saying its ok to knowingly poison people? There are many disclosures that have to made when you purchase a home now about lead. Certainly at least those would apply.

  4. Resign, resign, he should be in court on crimes against humanity, as well as those who participated!

    • The Governor has expressly welcomed the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation.

      The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbara McQuade, is an Obama appointee and has no reason to protect either Governor Snyder or his administration. She obtained the indictment and conviction of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and dozens of other city and county officials on public corruption charges.

      The Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has commenced his own investigation.

      From what I have seen so far, lead contamination was known to government officials but the extremely high levels of toxicity posing imminently serious health dangers were not until a Virginia Tech researcher was stunned by his own test results.

      • Thanks for the update on political machinations developed to defend a long-time poisoner of little children. Governor Rick Snyder is preparing for his sixth State of the State Address.

  5. Up to now the worst thing that has happened under this governor was the plan to declare cities, typically black-majority, bankrupt and terminate their elected governments in favor of appointed “technocratic” rulers likely to be corporate pals of the GOP. The role of the appointed receiver in this contamination disaster must be stressed, the result of a GOP strategy to silence minority voters in the most fundamental way.

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