Writing as guests in the Detroit Free Press, Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders joined with environmental activist Erin Brockovich to caution that the water crisis that has devastated Flint, Michigan is just the tip of the iceberg nationally because lawmakers and public officials put money before safety.
“The situation in Flint is what happens when public officials who, in their reckless zeal to slash government spending, jeopardize the health and well-being of the residents they are entrusted with keeping safe,” they wrote.
Brockovich recently appeared on Bill Maher’s Real Time where she was more blunt, blaming America’s crumbling infrastructure that put citizens at risk on “corrupt politics and f*cking greed,” before adding that “it has to stop!”
Pointing to the Flint crisis where citizens are attempting to deal with high levels of lead in the water coming out of their taps, the two social crusaders noted that Michigan state officials “ignored resident complaints and some tried to hide the health threat from Flint residents,” because it mainly affected a poor and minority-heavy community.
“While these types of crises tend to affect poor and minority communities disproportionately, they do impact families across the socioeconomic divide,” they wrote. “The deteriorating state of our municipal water systems represents a clear and present danger to the health and welfare of all Americans. Everyone is vulnerable.”
“In 2016 it is unimaginable that thousands, perhaps millions, of Americans are facing a scenario where the water coming from their home faucet is hazardous to their health. This is unacceptable and we must act decisively. The EPA needs an overhaul to act in the interests of the American people,” they said. “As a nation, we have become obsessed with economic austerity policies and a laissez-faire approach to governing. Not only do we allow corporations to pollute our waterways, but the government has failed to keep up with critically needed improvements to our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. That has got to change.”