President Obama travels to Flint to address water crisis

Media Contacts
John Rumpler

Clean Water Director and Senior Attorney, Environment America

Environment America

FLINT, MI — This afternoon, President Obama went to Flint, Michigan, to address the drinking water contamination there in person. Environment America Clean Water program director John Rumpler issued this statement:  

“Today, President Obama stood with the people of Flint and also shined a spotlight on the need to protect our drinking water in all communities. The tragedy of Flint demonstrates three key steps we must take to ensure safe drinking water for all.  

“On drinking water, the president has spoken. Now it’s time for Congress to act. First, we have to maintain and repair our drinking water infrastructure. As the President noted in Flint, ‘An individual can’t set up a water system [alone]. That’s something we have to do together.’ Congress should immediately provide Flint the resources to replace its lead pipes. And to protect drinking water in all our communities, we need to dramatically ramp up our investment in repairing and maintaining these systems.

“Second, we need to ensure the public’s right to know about what’s in our water. Part of the reason the Flint crisis went neglected for so long is that residents were not given clear data about the contamination of their own water. Robust testing and water quality sampling – along with timely access to the results – helps citizens demand immediate action when their water is threatened.

“Finally, we must protect the rivers, streams, and aquifers from which we draw our drinking water. Flint’s crisis began in part because the Flint River was so corrosive. Toledo’s drinking water was contaminated by a toxic algal bloom in Lake Erie. And even today, Des Moines is dealing with nitrate pollution in the Raccoon River. The Obama administration’s Clean Water Rule restored protections for streams that help provide drinking water to 1 in 3 Americans.  But more steps are needed to keep all of our drinking water sources safe from polluters.”