Flint, Michigan residents were forced to use bottle water for their daily needs, rather than tap water because aging infrastructure was found to be poisoning the local water supply. Their state government delayed fixing the issue for over two years forcing the US Senate to step in.
This past weekend the Senate passed a wide-ranging $11 billion bill, the Water Resources Development Act, that would fund water and infrastructure projects throughout the nation, which would include repairs on Flint’s water pipes.
“Federal funding to help begin fixing the pipes at the heart of the Flint water crisis is shamefully overdue,” said Scott Slesinger, legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “This is a start, but far more is needed to fix Flint and ensure safe drinking water to communities across America.”
This great news, however, comes at an environmentally costly price. This bill would also allocate millions of dollars to farmers in California giving them access to more water while easing restrictions on the constructions of new dams and eliminating certain fish species from waterways. Instead of forcing farmers to grow crops in arid areas, the drought-stricken state would allow the farmers to stay where they are at and just consume more water.
Retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who was an author of the bill before this California provision was added to it, is now against the bill and is urging others to vote no. “It breaks my heart,” she said during a floor speech on Friday. “Here I am, standing up, making a big fuss over my own bill, saying vote no. It’s really painful for me to have to filibuster my own bill.”