Liberals often blame Republicans for the Flint water crisis, so imagine their shock when a federal judge paved the way for Flint citizens to sue the Obama administration.
Daily Wire reported that residents filed a lawsuit against the EPA in 2017, and the government tried to get it dismissed in 2018, claiming the agency was “exempt from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act’s discretionary function exception,” according to the Detroit News. The residents had claimed the agency responded negligently and didn’t use the department’s authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act to “intervene, investigate, and warn about the health risks,” the News reported.
U.S. District Judge Linda Parker denied the government’s attempt to dismiss the case, writing that “Congress intended to leave the primary responsibility for overseeing public water systems with the states,” when it wrote the Safe Drinking Water Act, but “expressly directed the EPA to intervene under specified conditions.”
Three years ago, former President Obama appeared to use the city of Flint for a “PR stunt,” when he drank the water and then promised help.
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A federal judge ruled Thursday that Flint citizens can move forward with lawsuits targeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s handling of the Michigan city’s lead contamination problems.
The EPA under former President Barack Obama was too slow to intervene in the case, according to U.S. Judge Linda Parker, who ruled that the federal government was not immune from legal action in the case. More than a dozen lawsuits were filed against Michigan and city officials after researchers discovered in 2016 that Flint’s water contained elevated levels of lead in 2014 and 2015.
“The impact on the health of the nearly 100,000 residents of the City of Flint remains untold,” Parker wrote in her opinion. “It is anticipated, however, that the injury caused by the lead-contaminated public water supply system will affect the residents for years and likely generations to come.”
The EPA knew Flint officials “were not warning Flint’s residents that they were being supplied lead-laced water. Quite to the contrary, the EPA learned that State and local officials were misleading residents to believe that there was nothing wrong with the water supply,” the judge added.
Fifteen state and local officials have been criminally indicted in connection with what many in the media have dubbed a water crisis. Four of the officials were charged with involuntary manslaughter. Much of the controversy happened after Flint switched its water source to the Flint River in 2014 without adding anti-corrosive agents to the water. Lead levels in drinking water supplies increased shortly thereafter.
Experts are worried the media are getting too far ahead of themselves. The numbers are “being horribly exaggerated,” Hernan Gomez, an associate professor at the University of Michigan and medical toxicologist at Hurley Medical Center, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in September 2018.
Blood lead levels (BLLs) are no higher in Flint than in other cities across Michigan, said Gomez, who noted that there is no acceptable level of lead in drinking water even if there is a level that is considered tolerable.