The federal government needs to develop and implement a plan to solve problems with our water infrastructure, pollution and growing scarcity. How will the next president act?
water contamination Archives - State of the Planet
The reason we have federal water quality standards is to ensure that local economic issues, politics, racism or other factors do not control decisions about water supply. But in Flint, decisions on water supply were not subject to effective federal review.
The federal government sets the drinking water standards in America, even though monitoring and administration is delegated to the states. The federal EPA had the authority and responsibility to intervene. The failure in Flint belongs to all of us and it should lead to some hard thinking about the causes of this completely avoidable environmental disaster.
It is clear that the hunger for economic growth and wealth pushes business and governments to ignore environmental impacts that are considered an inevitable byproduct of development. But this fails to account for the costs that will inevitably be borne when the damage must be cleaned up.
The short-term, expedient result of ignoring environmental impacts may be greater immediate profit for some, but the long-term impact is higher costs and lower profit, and many of those higher costs must be borne by all of us. Many of the companies that made the mess will be long gone before many of the bills come due.