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Flint Drinking Water Crisis in Michigan Discourse

2021-11-22 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文

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Introduction

Flint is a northwest city of Detroit in Michigan, and it stopped using Detroit’s Lake Huron water supply in April 2014 and changed to the Flint River as an interim source while a new pipeline was built occupying this area. The environmental problems of drinking water abnormality were immediately reported by local residents about water’s color and odor. But the official did not want to cause attention and interfere with the industry development, therefore, the problem reported by the residents was suppressed. In later investigation, the related officials were punished and put up for charges (New China, 2017). In early stages, independent investigations were done and it was found lead-contamination was the problem. The state of Michigan firstly wanted to pass on the issue and did not want residents to worry (New China, 2017). But as investigation went on, it was confirmed that lead was found in the water supply of Flint and they took actions to try to solve the water problem. The State Department of Environmental Quality Director and department spokesman stepped off of their positions because of the late confirmation about lead contamination (New China, 2017). The crisis has caused serious treatment from the government and the public.

 

As the problem developed into a crisis, it caused national and state attention and more actions and responses were realized for serious addressing. In the final stage, in order to effectively address the problems, U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit initiated the investigation closely on the Flint water crisis, together with the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA is in charge of handling the drinking water problem in Flint. Regional 5 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Offices is in charge of the state’s environmental issues. Many more investigations are made following the new designation. The parties involved in this case includes Flint local residents, the national EPA office, the local EPA office in Michigan, and independent supervision parties like the Office of Inspector General. The interest parties of the government organizations are problem solvers and the residents are the beneficiaries.

 

Brief of Flint Drinking Water Crisis

The Flint drinking water contamination crisis has drawn national attention. From the President and the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), who called for the attention and more importantly, correction of problems to state level and many parties have offered suggestions and measures for EPA to consider. The National Environmental Justice Advisory Council is a federal advisory committee to EPA and was established September 30th, 1993 (National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, n.d.). The obligation of the organization is to provide independent recommendations and advice about broad questions that are concerned with the environmental correction for all involved parties. Working with EPA, NEJAC offers supplement for EPA initiatives. As the agency has many employees and branches, it is important that EPA clarifies how its duties are to be realized to deal with the public health issues.

 

The problem of Michigan drinking water crisis includes two parts. The drinking water crisis in Flint first was an environmental problem. Water contamination with lead in the water. Then with residents using the water as drinking water resource and the authority in neglecting duties, the problem develops into a public health one. Lead contaminated drinking water can cause serious health problems. Young children, infants, and fetuses are especially vulnerable to lead; therefore, it causes more damaging consequences for fragile growing humans. Exposure to lead can cause neuro damages like learning disabilities, impaired hearing and blood problems (Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water, n.d.). Therefore, the health problems are the serious one for residents to consider. The children are the most caring part.

 

Different Roles Concerning EPA

In terms of different roles of certain agency, the EPA regional office has the authority to supervise and manage the drinking water problems in Flint. The Office of Inspector General is a supervision part of the EPA agency, but it is a separate part from the agency because it is the Congress that is funding the Office of Inspector General. The supervision branch from the agency makes sure the regulations and managements are executed efficiently and timely. In pushing the regulation into practice, the organization issues a report as an EPA OIG Management Alert. The Office of Inspector General makes sure the measures and actions within the EPA are properly executed. The supervision is necessary and makes it reliable and truthful to serve the public.

 

According to the Office of Inspector General’s Report, the Region 5 branch of EPA has the authority and it has access to viable information that it can issue emergency orders to prevent Flint residents suffering from the water crisis in early years of 2015. But the agency did not take action to push the protection procedure by issuing an emergency order. In September 2015, EPA region 5 takes a brief document to the EPA headquarters’ Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) about the water crisis in Flint (“Report: Drinking Water Contamination in Flint”, 2016). Then during that autumn, the state level government started to take measures in order to address the issues in Flint. EPA managed to make sure that the actions are taken, but the contamination continued. The Flint drinking water crisis then developed into a much bigger and serious problem.

 

Solutions and Analysis of Flint Drinking Water Crisis

In face of environmental problems and further public affairs like public affair, economic national regulation intervention and national control are essential in addressing state affairs. The outer regulation outside of the market is the effective way in this case to solve social and environmental problems. The environmental problems solution Economical market regulations can only be effective after political intervention is implemented and the market effect can come into life in this situation. Financial aid as a funding, as the outer measure against the market is typical regulation. The residents in this matter can only affect the big power in minor ways.

 

Solutions to address this contamination and public health problem are concluded in two aspects, both financial and research investigations support are provided for addressing the problems in national and state levels. In the research support aspect, U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development and Environmental Council of the States partnered together for the research needs. The Office of Research and Development of EPA is an important research part to provide scientific and technical resources (U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development and Environmental Council, n.d.). The water quality investigation requires technical and scientific tools and methods. The research support is used for investigating the water quality of Flint and keeping track of the changing lead contaminates. To solve the lead contamination, the research solution is also important. According to EPA website, the water condition in Flint has been improved (Flint Drinking Water Response, n.d.). The latest Water quality update shows that Flint’s water quality continues to improve (Update on Water Quality, n.d.). In the round five water sampling test In November 2016, there were 260% increase in low-lead samples and 65% decrease in lead results above 15, which is high, compared with January 2016 test in the first round. It did show improve, however, the test did not show which part of samples were taken, therefore, it lacked objectivity and its purpose for serving the residents.

 

Moreover, in spite of the improvements in water quality, in early stages, there were slow actions and misunderstanding of the crisis. EPA admitted slow response to water crisis in a report and said it was going through its handling of the crisis and admitted it did not response fast enough (EPA Admits Slow Response to Water Crisis, 2016). Therefore, criticism of the state and federal response grew over Flint drinking water crisis. It pushed EPA to take actions and certain punishment as measures. The regulations mean the market is not always useful in adjusting economic and social activities.

 

The EPA agency awarded $100 million to Michigan for its water infrastructure upgrades in Flint in March 2017 (EPA Awards $100 Million to Michigan for Flint Water Infrastructure Upgrades, 2017). The fund is used for upgrading drinking water infrastructure. The funding was expected to be helping Flint to upgrade its water infrastructure condition by replacing lead service lines and make other infrastructure improvement. The funding is from the national level and it helps make sure the problem is in good hands and control. The outer funding for this problem is a typical situation for this kind of national problem. The economic package is effective for this kind of great state crisis.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, EPA in Michigan is a regional office of EPA, but it is also supervised by the EPA headquarters. EPA also work with other offices and federal and state organizations. Flint water infrastructure receives funding from national and federal organizations to address water contamination crisis. The reason why it is called a crisis is that it has caused national and state attentions and there has been great complaint about response actions. The drinking water contamination is a great environmental problem and has caused public health problem. The serious health problem has caused national concerns.


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