Michigan Leaders to Congress: Fund Water Infrastructure Improvements

Leaders from Flint call on Congress to Provide Federal Aid to Communities with Elevated Levels of Lead in Tap Water

WASHINGTON – Today, leaders from Flint, Michigan -- joined by members of the Michigan congressional delegation and national conservation groups -- called on Congress to provide federal aid to Flint and to other communities with elevated levels of lead in tap water.

The speakers praised the Senate -- which is poised to pass a Water Resources Development Act with $100 million in aid for Flint -- and called on the House of Representatives to do the same in a timely manner.

Below are short quotes from the speakers today:

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow: “We will not give up on the people of Flint until every man, every woman, every child in the city of Flint has the confidence that the water that comes out of their faucet is safe. That should be a basic American right.” Watch her full statement.

Michigan Senator Gary Peters: “Most of us can’t comprehend what the good people of Flint have gone through, and they’ve done it with dignity, they’ve done it with strength, and they’ve done it with pride.” Watch his full statement.

Representative Dan Kildee (Flint): “It shocks the conscience that a year after this story became public, and more than 2 years after this crisis really began, the people of Flint still can’t drink their water.” Watch his full statement.

Dr. Karen Weaver, Mayor of Flint: “We’re in Flint, Michigan, in a Great Lakes state that has access to the largest freshwater source in the world, but in Flint we still don’t have clean drinking water. It is unconscionable that we have been driven to year three that we can’t turn on our faucet and have clean drinking water.” Watch her full statement.

Frances Gilcreast, President of the Flint Branch of the NAACP: “Government failed us. We didn’t stop paying taxes, we kept paying taxes. But they failed us” Watch her full statement.

Bishop Bernadel Jefferson, Community Based Organization Partners and Faith Deliverance Church: “We took care of the sick, we took care of the children, and we kept telling them that there was something wrong …When we took water and showed them it was a problem nobody heard us. Nobody paid attention to us, but we kept fighting.” Watch her full statement.

Gina Luster, Flint Rising: “Our babies are so important. This is a generation that will be lost. Please don’t forget about us. Keep us in your prayers. When you put your kids to bed at night, think about us and our babies.” Watch her full statement.

Harold Harrington, United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters, Local 370: “Two and half years. That’s how long Flint residents knew there was something wrong with the water. Two and half years people were forced to drink this before the filters came in.” Watch his full statement.

Juani Olivares, Genesee County Hispanic Latino Collaborative: “The information that was sent out by the city and state was all in English...To this day we will still have families that don’t know anything about the water.” Watch her full statement.  

Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation: “We are calling on all members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to support this basic infrastructure. There is no American that should have to worry if the water coming out of their tap is safe. This is a basic American right. If you can’t drink the water coming out of your tap, very few other things matter.” Watch his full statement.

Natalie Mebane, Sierra Club Federal Policy Advocate: “Today we heard from civil rights leaders, faith leaders, union representatives, environmentalists, lawmakers, activists -- you name it and they’ve come. They’ve come to say in one voice that Congress must step up for Flint and for the people whose health is at risk.”
Today’s press conference was hosted by the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Blue Green Alliance.

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