The Flint water crisis resulted from simultaneous failures of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and Michigan’s Local Financial Stability and Choice Act.
Concurrent failures of federal drinking water standards and Michigan’s emergency manager law reinforced and magnified each other, leading to the Flint water crisis, according to a University of Michigan environmental policy expert.
Flint’s experience offers lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated local financial challenges while highlighting the importance of access to clean, safe drinking water, said U-M’s Sara Hughes, an assistant professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability.
“As we wrestle to combat the coronavirus, we should keep in mind that building healthy communities starts with a renewed commitment to investing in 21st-century drinking water systems and supporting cities as they navigate systemic financial challenges,” Hughes said. “Learning from the Flint water crisis requires counteracting and confronting the marginalizing effects of infrastructure underinvestment and urban austerity measures.”
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