Facebook/Governor Rick Snyder
Responding to months of anger over his mishandling of the Flint water crisis, Michigan governor Rick Snyder announced that he would be drinking the city’s filtered tap water for at least the next month, as well as cooking with it.
In 2014, as a temporary cost-cutting measure, the city switched from the Detroit water system and began sourcing water from the Flint River. The decision was made without planning for corrosion control, which would have prevented lead from old pipes to enter the water, and thus the water from the Flint River effectively poisoned its residents, particularly children, who faced the greatest risk.
Experts have warned that Flint’s youngest will face inevitable health problems, including developmental disabilities, for years to come.
Karen Weaver, the mayor of Flint, declared a state of emergency for the city in December, a full month before Snyder responded to the crisis. Snyder has faced heavy criticism over his delayed response to the crisis, as well as calls for his resignation from constituents and national figures alike, including documentarian and Flint native Michael Moore and Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders.
Earlier this year, a review of the 500 largest public water systems in the United States also found that Flint residents pay the highest water rates in the country — approximately $864 a year, more than three times what is paid by residents in nearby Detroit.
On Monday, Snyder took home five jugs of filtered tap water from Flint, and said that he would refill his supply during subsequent visits in an effort to “alleviate some of the skepticism and mistrust” that has made many locals afraid to touch the water, despite the distribution of filters.
“Flint residents made it clear that they would like to see me personally drink the water, so today I am fulfilling that request,” Snyder said in a statement.