President Obama In Flint To Hear on Water Crisis


Time: 3:35 p.m. CEST

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will visit Flint, Michigan on Wednesday where the President would see the eight-years-old Amariyanna, “Mari” Copeny, as part of his official visit to the city, which faced the biggest water crisis in its history.

Copeny, who is also known as “Little Miss Flint,” would give the president a big hug, but as other residents of Flint she would also share the challenges using the town water, which was contaminated with lead due to the corrosion in the water pipelines.

Copeny would not be the only one who will see the first family. Michigan Governor, who at first, had a buzzy schedule for Wednesday could also meet with the President on the tarmac, as the White House would expect. Ari Adler, a spokesman for Snyder said the governor would be waiting to meet Obama on the tarmac at the Bishop Airport in Flint.

Earlier, the Governor, Rick Snyder called the president in the past days to drink the water in Flint during his visit on Wednesday. “We are hopeful the president will drink the water in Flint, to help reinforce Gov. Snyder’s actions and the EPA’s message that filtered Flint water is safe to drink,” Anna Heaton, Snyder’s spokeswoman said in a statement published by the ABC News.

Despite, the White House’s press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday said he is not aware of the photo-ops in which the President would consume of the water. Earnest, however said, Obama believes in to the Environmental Protection Agency assessment, which says the filtered water in Flint is safe to drink.

“What the EPA has communicated to the public is that properly filtered water in Flint is safe to drink. So I certainly would encourage people to continue to listen to the advice that they get from our scientific and public health experts about what water is safe to drink, and the president will certain follow that advice,” Earnest said on Monday.

The EPA’s assessment on the filtered water is not yet enough guarantees for the residents to use tap water and many in Flint continue to drink only bottled water. The Governor drank filtered tap water last month to convince the residents he believes the water is safe to drink.

“Flint residents made it clear that they would like to see me personally drink the water, so today I am fulfilling that request. And I will continue drinking Flint water at work and at home for at least 30 days,” Snyder said in a press release last month, as ABC News reports.

Aside, the tests shows the unfiltered water in Flint still poise a danger. “High lead levels have poisoned residents taps since the city started pumping from the Flint River since April 2014 and failed to treat the water correctly,” the Huffington Post gives details before Obama’s visit to Michigan.

The Huff Post says, the state regulators requested of the state not to treat the source water with anti-corrosion chemicals. Last fall, researchers found high amounts of lead in the blood of children from Flint, influencing the local authorities to tell residents not to drink the water and to take emergency measures.

Mayor of Flint, Karen Waver did not support Snyder’s water drinking and she appealed to the pregnant, nursing of under the age of six to continue with the use of bottled water. Even though, Governor Snyder apologized for the government handling of the water crisis in Flint, he also pointed out toward EPA for not taking proper measures.

For many in Flint, using water means using bottled water and officials should eventually announced in the future when the water will be drinkable without a filter. Many of the families in Flint, like that of Amariyanna make speed-shower: “two minutes, in and out,” and then they are rinsed off with donated bottled water, the Guardian writes from Flint.

On Monday, the White House press secretary Earnest said the blue-ribbon independent commission, appointed by the Republican governor found “primary responsibility for the water contamination in Flint lies with the MDEQ,” which is the state-run environmental agency in Michigan.

However, when in Michigan, Obama would not spend the time for a specific accountability and would not weigh in one side or the other. Federal support to Flint includes, 7.3 million litters of water, distribution of 55.000 water and pitcher filters, and a quarter of a million replacement cartridges.

As the investigation for the water pollution in Flint continues, the White House says the President’s top priority is the level of clarity “hopefully will prevent the situation in Flint from reemerging in other communities.”

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