DETROIT--The ACLU in a letter to Congress this week urged lawmakers to greenlight disaster relief funds for Flint as that city continues to struggle with access to clean water more than two years after a switch in municipal water sources led to massive lead contamination and widespread health concerns.
"As an impoverished community composed largely of people of color, the residents of Flint represent some of our country’s most vulnerable populations," the letter notes. "It is imperative that Congress provide aid without further delay."
The letter came as federal legislators wrangled over the inclusion of Flint in spending measures that had previously overlooked the city while earmarking relilef funds for other hard-hit areas around the country. Democrats refused to approve the measure, which provides $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus outbreak and $500 million for flooding in Louisiana, unless Flint was also included. Republicans eventually agreed to address the Flint water crisis as well, averting an Oct. 1 government shutdown over the budget.
The letter was signed by Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan, which first broke the story of the Flint water crisis; ACLU General Counsel Jennifer Bellamy; and Karin Johnson, Director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office.