The Stream, March 6, 2020: Michigan Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Liability of Public Officials in Flint Water Crisis

The Global Rundown

Michigan’s highest court hears arguments over whether residents of Flint should be allowed to sue public officials over the city’s 2014-15 water crisis. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives begin an investigation of Nestle Waters North America’s water bottling operations. An analysis of nitrate pollution in Minnesota shows that the problem is worsening in two-thirds of affected areas. Data shows that this winter has been Europe’s hottest on record. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been criticized for his response to recent flooding, says emergency services advised him to stay away from deluged towns. 

“They [the emergency services] said to us: ‘All you’ll do is distract us and disrupt the business of helping people with the immediate crisis.’ So what I was doing was directing operations … Obviously, I’m working around the clock on various things, as indeed is the government.” –UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in reference to flood-hit towns across the country. Johnson has been criticized over his refusal to visit affected communities, where thousands of homes have been flooded in recent weeks. The Guardian

In context: HotSpots H2O: Government Response Criticized as Third Storm Deluges the United Kingdom

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

Hidden Flood Risk for San Francisco Bay Area Communities Lurks UndergroundFlooding linked to rising groundwater levels is a neglected consequence of rising seas. Bigger walls won’t keep it out.

Speaking of Water – Rising Seas, Groundwater, and Flooding in the San Francisco Bay Area  — Discover the link between rising seas, groundwater, and flooding in the San Francisco Bay Area with Dr. Kristina Hill, a professor at University of California, Berkeley.

By The Numbers

1.4 °C (2.5 °F) Amount that winter temperatures in Europe are trending above the previous hottest winter on record, which occurred in 2015-2016. Across the continent, temperatures in December, January, and February were by far the warmest since record-keeping began in 1855. The Guardian

Science, Studies, and Reports

A new report by the Environmental Working Group analyzed data on nitrate pollution at 115 Minnesota water utilities between 1995 and 2018, and found that nitrate levels at nearly two-thirds of the utilities rose over the study period. The increase in nitrate levels was especially  pronounced among utilities that already had high levels of contamination. Minneapolis Star Tribune

In context: More Evidence of Nitrate Cancer Risk in Drinking Water

On the Radar

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are investigating Nestle Waters North America as part of a probe into bottled water industry practices in the country. Nestle has been asked to provide information about its groundwater extraction in Michigan and other states, as well as data about revenues, expenses, and quality testing. MLive

On Wednesday, the Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments over whether residents of Flint, Michigan, should be able to sue state officials over the city’s 2014-15 lead crisis. In 2018, the state appeals court ruled that residents had the right to sue over violations of their “bodily integrity,” a decision that the Michigan attorney general’s office is now appealing. The case hinges on whether or not public officials violated the state constitution during the course of the crisis. PBS Newshour

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply