Nat'l League of Cities stands united with Flint in call to Congress
Urgent need for investment in aging national water infrastructure, group says.
WASHINGTON, March 8, 2016 -- Today—as 2,000 city leaders are convened inWashington for the annual Congressional City Conference—the National League of Cities (NLC) passed a resolution uniting cities on a call to action for federal support for Flint, Michigan and for water infrastructure nationwide. The resolution urges Congress to provide direct assistance to Flint, asks the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to resolve the drinking water crisis, and calls on the entire federal government to support economic recovery in the city.
NLC is also calling on Congress and the administration to support robust funding for all water infrastructure mechanisms, including the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund programs and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.
"The true tragedy is that the families—and children—impacted by the lead contamination in Flint will endure long-term education and mental health impacts," said National League of Cities President Melodee Colbert-Kean, councilmember, Joplin, Mo. "The federal government must make a long-term commitment to help these families with the challenges that lie ahead."
"The Flint drinking water crisis is unconscionable and unacceptable. Cites stand in solidarity with Flint, and the National League of Cities stands united with all American cities in the need to update our nation's deteriorating water infrastructure," said National League of Cities CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. "We must invest in the infrastructure our communities depend on. We need the federal government to step up, and work with cities to make sure there will never again be another disaster like in Flint."
"The tragic events in Flint are a wake-up call for the nation. Policies that ignore critical infrastructure needs result in a shameful disinvestment in our cities, leading to problems like we are experiencing in Flint," said Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League. "The Michigan state government has shorted communities $7 billion in revenue since 2000. The Flint crisis is the latest result of this ruinous policy."
Access to clean drinking water is fundamental for the health and well-being of America's communities and families. Lead-contaminated drinking water can have permanent and long-term effects on mental health, IQ and development, particularly in infants and children.
There is an urgent need to invest in our aging water infrastructure nationwide. The EPA estimates the U.S. water infrastructure capital needs to be approximately $720 billion over the next 20 years.
Supporting the City of Flint, Michigan and Calling for Federal Support
WHEREAS, the city of Flint, Michigan is experiencing a drinking water crisis whereby residents have been poisoned by lead-contaminated drinking water; and
WHEREAS, the elevated blood lead level was discovered in many Flint children after the city's water source was switched to the Flint River by the state-appointed emergency manager;
WHEREAS, lead can have permanent and long-term effects on mental health, IQ and development, particularly in infants and children; and
WHEREAS, studies have linked childhood lead poisoning to an increase in crime rates; and WHEREAS, a contributing factor to the drinking water crisis is the city's aging infrastructure and the lack of investment in infrastructure and the community; and
WHEREAS, Flint, Michigan, is the latest city to experience high levels of lead in its drinking water — in the early 2000s, the District of Columbia experienced a similar crisis, as have many other cities; and
WHEREAS, access to clean drinking water is fundamental to the health and well-being of America's communities and families; and
WHEREAS, there is a need to invest in our water infrastructure nationwide; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the nation's water infrastructure capital needs over the next 20 years to be approximately $720 billion in total; the American Society for Civil Engineers estimates the needed investment for water infrastructure to be $1.3 trillion over the next 20-25 years; and other estimates put the cost at more than $4 trillion to maintain and build a 21st century water system that addresses climate change impacts.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National League of Cities (NLC) calls on Congress to provide direct assistance to the City of Flint, Michigan, and EPA and the federal government to work directly with local officials, for as long as necessary, to resolve the drinking water crisis through the provision of safe drinking water and to support economic recovery; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NLC calls on Congress and the Administration to provide long-term support for the families affected by lead drinking water contamination in Flint and nationwide, including in the areas of education and mental health; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NLC calls on Congress and the Administration to support robust funding for all water infrastructure funding mechanisms, including the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund programs and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA); and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NLC calls on Congress and the Administration to support other mechanisms of infrastructure funding, including protecting the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org