Arriving in style, progressive filmmaker and longtime activist, Michael Moore, showed up unannounced at the Michigan Capitol building and delivered a stern message to the state's GOP Gov. Rick Snyder: If the water in Flint is safe, drink some yourself.
Moore used a hose connected to a tank truck that read, "Flint water" and sprayed it towards the building, the Detroit News reported. "Gov. Snyder, drink the water," Moore said, as he stared down the Capitol holding a glass of water in his hand.
During the brief stunt, he was surrounded by a film crew for an upcoming project of his, but Moore and the camera crew declined to discuss any details.
The demonstration also came in light of Snyder's decision earlier this month, in which he announced that residents of Flint would no longer receive free bottled water, as Salon has previously reported. Snyder cited nearly two years of state test results, which he said proved the water's lead levels were safe to drink.
"The scientific data now proves the water system is stable and the need for bottled water has ended," he said at the time. "Since Flint’s water is now well within the standards set by the federal government, we will now focus even more of our efforts on continuing with the health, education and economic development assistance needed to help move Flint forward."
Moore, who was born in suburbs just outside of Flint, has been one of the leading voices and has continued to raise concerns about the ongoing water crisis that has left the city devastated.
As a result of the disaster, the fertility rate in Flint plummeted.
The Washington Post elaborated:
That decline was primarily driven by what the authors call a “culling of the least healthy fetuses” resulting in a “horrifyingly large” increase in fetal deaths and miscarriages. The paper estimates that among the babies conceived from November 2013 through March 2015, “between 198 and 276 more children would have been born had Flint not enacted the switch in water,” write health economists Daniel Grossman of West Virginia University and David Slusky of Kansas University.
But residents of Flint have not been quick to trust the government's word that the water is safe again, and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver criticized Snyder's decision to end the free bottled water distribution.
"I know this is not the situation any of us want to be in," she said. "We did not cause the man-made water disaster, therefore adequate resources should continue being provided until the problem is fixed and all the lead and galvanized pipes have been replaced. I will be contacting the Governor’s office immediately to express the insensitivity of the decision he made today and to make sure he is aware of the additional needs that I have requested for the residents of Flint."
A federal judge denied a Flint man's request to reinstate distribution of free bottled water on Friday. The man has alleged that his "home water was tested for lead this year and registered 1,330 parts per billion of lead in one test, far beyond the federal action limit of 15 ppb."