Republicans Blame the EPA For Flint Water Crisis and Close Investigation

Allowing Governor Snyder to flout the committee’s authority will deny the people of Flint the answers they deserve.

Republicans Blame the EPA For Flint Water Crisis and Close Investigation

It is no exaggeration to state that if a Republican in Congress is not corrupt, they are at the bare minimum corrupt for covering up their fellow Republicans’ malfeasance while in office. It is why, although encouraging on the surface, these meager calls to investigate Trump will go nowhere. In fact, it would not be out of character for Republicans in the GOP-controlled Congress to praise Russian spies and Vladimir Putin for giving them a rubber stamp in the White House. Even more likely is they will blame Democrats, Hillary Clinton, President Obama and federal regulations for inciting Russia to attack America; it is just how they operate.

A similar situation occurred late last week when Republicans in the House “quietly’ closed the investigation into Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s disastrous actions that poisoned Flint residents’ water supply.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), issued two separate letters announcing that “his” investigation was finished and that Snyder was without guilt because it was the Environmental Protection Agency’s fault Flint’s water source was shifted to a poisoned source. What was missing was even a word about, or concern over, Rick Snyder’s appointment of a “local dictator” (emergency manager) who is responsible for forcing Flynn residents to drink, cook, and bathe in toxic water; water that still is not safe to drink.

Chaffetz’s closure came on the heels of President Obama signing legislation authorizing $170 million to address the “lead problem” in Flint’s drinking water. And of course, Chaffetz closed the investigation with no new information and simply reiterated what everyone and their pet hamster already know about the crisis.

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To give Snyder complete cover, Chaffetz also “quietly” closed the investigation without receiving any of the committee’s requested information from the Republican governor and several of his staff. Apparently, Chaffetz likely regards the Michigan Republicans’ refusal to testify or turn over “crucial information” and documents to the House committee as the EPA’s fault as much as Chaffetz’s claim the agency is guilty of forcing Flint residents to drink toxic water.

Of course, nothing will come of it, but hours before Chaffetz’s announcement, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings (D-MD), called for a subpoena of the Republican governor, Rick Snyder. It was, after all, Snyder who was responsible for appointing the emergency manager who switched Flint’s water supply. No need for a subpoena or testimony from Snyder or members of his staff because Chaffetz concluded that Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Environmental Protection Agency “caused” the water crisis. It was unthinkable that Republican Rick Snyder or his appointed emergency manager were responsible for switching Flint’s water supply to a well-known lead-tainted source.

In typical Republican fashion, Chaffetz said the water was poisoned because of federal regulations that he claimed “set up states to fail.” His solution was shifting all EPA funding to study and combat climate change to water pipe improvement. And just for good measure, he also called for abolishing the prevailing wage for federally-funded construction projects under the Davis-Bacon Act. Surprisingly, Chaffetz stopped short of blaming Flint’s poisoned water supply on prevailing wage or the Davis-Bacon Act.

Elijah Cummings refused to sign Chaffetz’s letters closing the investigation and a spokeswoman for the committee’s Democrats noted that Snyder “defied” requests to provide documents for the investigation. Mr. Cummings also claimed that Snyder obstructed the investigation by “not providing key documents” that would have clarified when he learned about the poisoned water. In response to Chaffetz’s letter, Cummings wrote:

“Requiring Governor Snyder to finally comply with the committee’s request will allow us to complete our investigation and offer concrete findings and recommendations to help prevent a catastrophe like this from happening again. In contrast, allowing Governor Snyder to flout the committee’s authority will deny the people of Flint the answers they deserve.”

Mr. Cummings also noted that besides Governor Snyder, 15 past and current members of the Republican governor’s administration refused to respond to the powerful House Oversight Committee.

They have repeatedly delayed responding to the committee, and they have treated the committee’s requests as an afterthought that they respond to only after addressing other inquiries that they view as higher priorities.”

Now that there is no Oversight Committee investigation, Snyder will never release the requested documents and his past and current cohorts will never testify; because they are Republicans and there is still an Environmental Protection Agency to blame for forcing Flint residents to bathe, cook and drink toxic water.

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