Last Weds. USA Today Main Section had an extensive investigative piece on lead in the drinking water supply of many rural communities. They found: A) about 100,000 people get their drinking water from utilities that discovered high lead but failed to treat the water or remove the lead. Dozens of utilities took more than one year to formulate a treatment plan and even longer to begin treatment! , B) About Four Million Americans get water from small operators who skipped required tests or did not conduct the tests properly, violating a cornerstone of federal safe drinking water laws. In more than 2,000 communities, lead tests were either skipped twice, or in other instances tests were not properly conducted for five or more years!, C) About 850 small water utilities with a documented history of lead contamination failed to properly test for five or more years!, D) State and federal water safety officials told USA Today reporters that regulators are lenient with small water systems because they lack resources . Thus, the nations Safe Drinking Water Act allows less trained, often amateur people to operate tiny water systems.
Folks, the report by USA Today honed in on the WHAT of what has been happening to safe drinking water, and mentioned, in passing, the lack of funds needed. Yet, it never alluded to the WHY. Take the Flint, Michigan expose on the lead and outdated, inferior pipes in their drinking water supply. This writer watched the entire hearings on C-Span. How many times did those who did not do their jobs properly have to explain to the Congress people that there was not enough MONEY allocated? How many times!? In the USA piece, they stated that ‘ever shrinking tax rolls and a median household income at about half the national average in many communities meant that there was little money available to shore up decaying infrastructure’. Thus, leaks occur over and over’. So, what Uncle Sam will do is give out some funding to struggling communities, but drinking water experts state categorically that the need outstrips the money being given out, and loans cannot help utilities because they will not be able to pay them back anyway! Why did the USA report never ‘connect the dots’?
An EPA assessment in 2013 estimated that infrastructure needs for small water systems would total 64.5 billion dollars over 20 years. Last time this writer looked, at least half of our federal tax revenues to Uncle Sam, about 600 billion dollars in 2015 alone, goes for military spending. Did you get that folks… around 600 billion dollars per year since we invaded and occupied Iraq! Imagine all the infrastructure upgrades our towns and cities could complete if even a small portion of that military spending was diverted as block grants through revenue sharing… money that never has to be repaid, by the way. It costs you and me Joe and Joan Q. Taxpayer over one million dollars per year to keep one soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq. How many modern water pipes and purer drinking water can one million dollars subsidize? No, this gung-ho jingoistic government and mainstream media keep drumming that ‘ We are at war!!’ Oh really, when did Congress declare war last? Oh, the ‘Big One’ WW2. After that, the Military Industrial Complex AKA Empire has conned Americans into thinking Vietnam, Korea and more recently Afghanistan and Iraq (and soon to be Syria) were ‘Wars’ we needed to be in for our defense. They tell you that the close to one thousand bases we have in over 100 different countries are necessary for our nation’s defense. Believe that and I have a bridge in Brooklyn you can purchase! Stop supporting this 2 Party bunch of empire stooges and start the New Year right: Get out on the street corners of your towns and cities to demand drastic cuts in the military spending, an end to our unnecessary bases worldwide, and bringing back both our military personnel and sanity to our foreign policy!