02.01.16

Peters, Kildee Meet with Community Leaders in Flint, Receive Update on Water Crisis

FLINT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters and Congressman Dan Kildee today met with community leaders from Flint and representatives of various government agencies to receive updates on response efforts to the Flint water crisis.

“What is happening in Flint has been a colossal failure on the part of the State, but I am committed to working on the federal level to help Flint overcome this crisis and move forward,” said Senator Peters. “I was pleased to have Congressman Kildee join me as we heard firsthand about the short and long-term challenges facing Flint families, as well as recovery efforts currently underway, and I look forward to continue working with him and the people of Flint.”

“Senator Peters and I had very productive meetings today with Flint residents,” Congressman Kildee said. “My top priority continues to be getting Flint any available resources to deal with this crisis, both in the short and long term. The federal government has already stepped up to help Flint families, but the state, which created this crisis, needs to step up and do more.”

During meetings with Flint parents and education stakeholders, Peters and Kildee were joined by representatives from the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Senator and Congressman reaffirmed the importance of early childhood education in helping mitigate the effects of lead exposure in children. Next, Peters and Kildee received an update on efforts to improve water quality and identify water infrastructure needs by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Peters and Kildee additionally participated in a roundtable discussion with the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce and a representative from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to discuss support the SBA can provide for small business impacted by the water crisis.

Last week, Peters, along with Senator Debbie Stabenow, introduced legislation as an amendment to the Energy Policy and Modernization Act to help Flint families and support the people of Flint and the City and ensure additional accountability. Kildee will be introducing companion legislation in the House.

The legislation would provide up to $400 million in new federal emergency funding to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help replace or fix the City of Flint’s water supply infrastructure. Second, it would establish and fund a $200 million Center of Excellence on Lead Exposure to focus on the immediate and long-term needs of children and adults exposed to lead. Third, it includes legislation announced by Peters, Stabenow and Kildee requiring the EPA to warn the public of high lead levels in drinking water if a state fails to do so. Fourth, it gives the State of Michigan new flexibility to use funding to help forgive water infrastructure loans.