Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Flint Water and KWA: Editorial Gets It Wrong

The Port Huron Times Herald published an editorial on March 28, 2016 about the Flint water tragedy, the related construction of a new pipeline by the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA), and the final report of the governor’s Task Force.The four concluding paragraphs of the editorial are:

The task force report calls the resulting lead poisoning a failure of the emergency manager process. The first failure was Snyder and his emergency managers not recognizing how irresponsibly, stunningly wasteful the Karegnondi Water Authority project is.

“State and local officials repeatedly characterized Genesee County and Flint leadership, including Flint’s emergency managers, as adamant in their promotion of KWA and desire for independence from DWSD,” the report says. Wouldn’t it have been better for Detroit’s emergency manager, who we would hope was on the same team as Flint’s manager and Snyder, to fix the unjust rates? (Emphasis added.)

It is difficult to imagine, but there was nobody who could determine whether spending $300 million on KWA’s pipeline parallel to Detroit’s was good fiscal policy. Self-interested parties told Flint and Genesee County it was a great idea. So they asked the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for an analysis.

MDEQ can’t do its own job. Asking it for economic analysis — even if conclusions are obvious — is irresponsible.


Fix the unjust DWSD water service rates? Who are they kidding? What the editorial overlooks is how irresponsibly, stunningly wasteful, incompetently managed, corrupt and looted DWSD, the heart of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s organized crime syndicate, was.

Reservations I’ve expressed about emergency management under Kevyn Orr aside, there wasn’t enough time (and absolutely no credit) before or during bankruptcy to fix DWSD, thus fix its rates. (All the King’s horses…)

In this context, the creation of KWA was, in my view, an act of desperation.

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