The federal government awarded $100 million in emergency grant money to help solve the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The city was devastated and 12 people died from a lead outbreak in the drinking water.
Officials say they need to upgrade the city's water infrastructure by replacing pipes and water meters and upgrading the city's water treatment plant.
Governor Rich Snyder (R) praised the bipartisan, multi-level government effort to bring relief to the people of Flint.
"It's great to see federal, state and local partners continuing to work together to help with infrastructure upgrades and pipe replacements for the people of Flint."EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt released a statement that the grant was part of the Trump administration's goal to improve America's water infrastructure.
"EPA will especially focus on helping Michigan improve Flint's water infrastructure as part of our larger goal of improving America's water infrastructure."Scott Pruitt was a contentious choice for EPA Administrator due to his history of suing the agency during his tenure as Oklahoma attorney general. He filed multiple lawsuits accusing the agency of government overreach. His history with the agency made opponents concerned that he would drive the EPA into the ground over his potential conflicts of interest, while supporters of Donald Trump's pick said he was just the person to cut the bloated agency back to size. The full effects of this choice remain to be seen, but on Friday, Pruitt approved the $100 million in aid for Flint, Michigan.
Pruitt had to approve a formal request from Michigan officials that explained how they plan to use the grant money. The funding was actually approved by Congress last year, under President Barack Obama. Therefore, politicians in Michigan are applauding the effort as bipartisan, crossing all levels of government, and multiple administrations.
The two Michigan senators and the representative from Flint released a statement expressing their collective gratitude that the water crisis in Flint was finally being addressed.
"Today we have good news for families in Flint who have already waited far too long for their water system to be fixed. The people of Flint are strong and resilient, and we will continue to fight for the resources and assistance they need. It's also past time for the state of Michigan to do everything in its power to meet its responsibilities to help the city recover from this man-made crisis."In total, Congress approved $170 million dollars in aid to improve drinking water around the country. The bulk of the money went to Flint to assist in their water recovery efforts.
On Wednesday, two days before Pruitt approved the grant, Donald Trump met with the mayor of Flint, Karen Weaver, for a short meeting to discuss the water crisis and public safety concerns in Flint. Weaver urged the President to continue the federal aid Flint was scheduled to receive from Congress and said the city could use additional help funding its police force.
Weaver, a Democrat, supported Clinton during the election but expressed gratitude at the opportunity to meet with President Trump and receive federal aid for her city.
"He seemed sincere in being glad to have gotten the opportunity to meet me. It was more like an introduction meeting. So, we're in contact and we're trying to get another meeting set up. We'll find out how serious he is then."On the campaign trail, Trump stopped in Flint and promised that the water crisis would be "fixed quickly and effectively and Flint will come back."
Because of the administration's plans to cut funding to the EPA, critics have expressed concern that states will have a harder time fighting air and water pollution. The cuts may come, but funding for Flint has been approved.
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