PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE ISSUE – January 23, 2016
Libertarians Call for Independent Investigation
It has been stated that the Flint Water Crisis is Governor Snyder’s Katrina. Hurricanes are natural disasters though, which can be predicted and reaction plans can be formulated. Preparations could have been made to mediate the damage, but the hurricane could not have been avoided. That is not the case in Flint, MI. There is nothing natural about the water crisis and it was completely avoidable.
There is plenty of blame to go around, as detailed in numerous articles. There were several areas over the years where all levels of government were responsible for decisions that lead to this disaster. The Flint City Council voted to leave the Detroit Water system and use Flint River water until a new source was ready, and the emergency manager approved it. The Michigan DEQ was inadequate in addressing the situation in a timely manner. A federal EPA employee sounded the alarm, but the only official agency response was further dialogue with the DEQ.
What is apparent is the government at every level failed to protect the public. It took people outside of the government to prove what was going on. And yet, the answer is to bring in the Federal Government, who already knew about the situation and did nothing, and the National Guard to help remediate the problem. Will maintaining government control of water fix the problem when the government let this happen in the first place? Would private companies have done better? Maybe not, but at least they are held more accountable. They would be more inclined to provide better service because you could leave them and go elsewhere. Leaving government utility programs is not easy, as there are few other options.
It is time we begin having a more accountable system of services in all aspects of programs offered by the government. This can be done through the free market. Edwardsville Water Corporation of Georgetown, Indiana is one example of a private company providing an alternative option to government controlled utility monopolies as they maintain a transparent reporting practice.
It would be outstanding if government were held to the same accountability as private industries but they are not. The government failed to provide safe water. Had a private company done this they would likely be facing financial retribution if not criminal charges. That is because an outside agency would be doing the investigation. If those companies went bankrupt only the owners and investors would suffer.
Government failures however affect everyone. Michigan is being sued by Flint residents. Any penalties awarded will come out of tax dollars from the state residents, including those residing in Flint. They will be paying for the damage caused by others. Will government officials be held accountable? Although the Attorney General is investigating, it is essentially an internal audit as one branch of the government is reviewing another. The federal EPA is also forming an investigation, but they had advanced warning of this also, and did nothing at the time. An independent review of the missteps in this debacle would be more credible.
The Libertarian Party of Michigan calls for an independent investigation of the events leading up to this public health crisis. Any officials found to be negligent should be fired and prosecuted, but unfortunately most have immunity from legal action.