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Historicizing Flint



If you are looking for some good long reads this Saturday, check out this forum on placing the Flint water crisis in historical context, featuring some of our leading environmental historians, as well as economists and an engineer. There are essays on the history of environmental injustice in Flint, the history of lead pipes, and the toxicity of American infrastructure. Really good stuff.

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  • bobbyp


  • Nobdy

    Vaguely on topic question: What price does Snyder pay for this debacle? I would be shocked if there’s any sort of criminal or even civil penalty, so it just the end of his political career? Or is even that too optimistic?

    • Linnaeus

      I don’t think he’ll pay a price in terms of civil or criminal penalties, and if he does, it will have to come from the federal level. The state will do nothing, because those who want to hold him responsible don’t have the power to do it.

      Regarding his political career, I don’t think you’re being too optimistic about it ending. He’s term-limited as governor, so he’s out in 2018. There’s really nowhere else for him to go in Michigan politics and I don’t see him running for a federal office like senator. He doesn’t seem like the type to be a legislator and even if he wanted to run, this taint on his record (to put it mildly) isn’t going to go away. Maybe he’ll get a federal appointment by some Republican president should such an unfortunate situation come to pass, but even then, I can’t see a halfway competent (yes, I know, just stick with me here) Republican even thinking of doing that. I think he’s done in politics.

  • PSP

    Lead service pipes were still being installed until 1986? I wonder how that factors into the Kevin Drum crime theory.


  • howard

    just had a chance to read through it: excellent stuff, particularly about the history of lead pipes in urban areas.

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