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Michigan Rep. Brenda Lawrence: 'How to prevent the next Flint Water Crisis'

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Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence gave the keynote address at the National Enviornmental Health Association's Annual Education Conference this week, discussing what she believes is vital in preventing the next Flint Water Crisis. Taking the stage in the Steelcase Ballroom at DeVos Hall in downtown Grand Rapids, Rep. Lawrence delivered a passionate speech that focused on environmental injustice suffered by Michigan's lower income communities, and how that contributed to the crisis in Flint. 

“When health, environmental issues are infecting those who don’t have the resources how is that one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” Rep. Lawrence said during her speech.

Lawrence placed the blame for Flint’s water crisis squarely on the government.

“The fact is, what happened in Flint was a government decision to save money. That’s what happened,” Lawrence told WGVU after her speech.

Last February a government-appointed civil rights commission released a 129-page report that said “historical, structural and systemic racism combined with implicit bias" played a role in Flint’s drinking water crisis.

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Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D) serves Michigan's 14th district

“The communities with the lowest amount of resources or those who have high minorities are often the ones that are the most severely, and I would say discriminatorily attacked with not protection of their environmental health. Those are facts.”

She added that environmental health is a fundamental right as a human being.

“That was my message today--environmental health should something that is the expectation for all us.”

Rep. Lawrence was re-elected to Congress last November and is currently serving her second term in Michigan’s 14th congressional district. Previously she was the mayor of Southfield, Michigan for 14 years. 

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