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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer The city of Benton Harbor has been criticized for its sluggish response to the water crisis.

Advocates say the community of Benton Harbor, Michigan, is without safe water because of decades-old lead pipes, due to water supplies and the slow response of state and local governments.

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City commissioners unanimously declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and empowered Mayor Marcus Muhammad to lead the Benton Harbor response. Whitmer visited the city the same day.

Edward Pinckney, who leads the Benton Harbor Community Water Council, told Granthshala News in a phone interview that Whitmer and Muhammad should have responded to the crisis “three years ago.”

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“The city government, they failed us, and the state government failed us. They failed the community,” Pinckney told Granthshala News. “For three years, he did absolutely nothing. For three whole years, he did nothing.”

Reverend said it took Whitmer “three years” to do something about the crisis, and that Whitmer’s “damage control” only came after his group filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the fact Citing that an election year is approaching.

He also said that if the group hadn’t filed an EPA petition, “it would have taken two or three years before someone would actually respond.”

The Whitmer administration’s handling of the Benton Harbor crisis has also attracted the attention of the state legislature. Is the Republican Chair of the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee To ask Documents and communications related to the Whitmer Administration going back to 2019.

Pinckney says the community is coming together to address the leadership shortage during the crisis, and that her church is “going door-to-door making sure everyone here has clean drinking water.”

“Because we can’t take another chance to trust them to do anything,” Reverend said. “We have to do it ourselves.”

Pinky also wants President Biden’s EPA to “start going door-to-door” to help ease the crisis.

“Once we do that, we can do more,” Pinckney said.

Pinckney said his community needed to be “completed” again by removing lead from the water, adding that Democratic governors could accomplish this in “six to 12 months” instead of an 18-month time period because there were only 6,000 lead pipes. are in the city.

“Newark, New Jersey had 20,000 and completed it in less than two years,” Pinckney said. “So there’s no reason in the world we can’t do it in six to 12 months.”

Reverend said the city is facing “more than a crisis” and that the situation is “devastating” for the entire community, noting that the community “doesn’t even know how many people have been killed by this lead.”

“That’s the point. We don’t know — we don’t even have a clue,” said Pinckney. “We don’t know how bad this thing has gotten.”

He also criticized Whitmer’s message on the crisis, blasting it for its message “abundance of caution” and for telling the people of Benton Harbor that their water is “unsafe” for use.

“It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t mean anything to anybody,” said the reverend.

Neither the governor’s nor the mayor’s offices responded to Granthshala News’ request for comment.

Houston Keene is a reporter for Granthshala News Digital. You can find him on Twitter at @HoustonKeene.