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Fri May 5, 2017, 10:24 AM

8,000 Flint residents face foreclosure for failing to pay for poisoned water

More than 8,000 residents in Flint have received letters from the city threatening them with home foreclosures if they do not pay outstanding bills for water, which is still tainted with lead and other toxins. Seeking to squeeze $5.8 million out of city residents, the letters said outstanding bills would have to be paid by May 19 or property tax liens would be issued that could result in residents losing their homes by March 2018.

The action is the latest offense against the largely working-class population in the former manufacturing center for General Motors, 60 miles north of Detroit. Residents in the city of 100,000 have fought a three-year battle against the lead poisoning of their water and the official cover-up of this criminal act by local, state and federal authorities.

The April 2014 switchover of the city’s water supply to the polluted Flint River, overseen by a governor-appointed emergency manager, was aimed at funneling more money to wealthy bondholders and furthering Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s efforts to privatize services, including public water systems. Untreated corrosives in the water leached lead from the city’s antiquated pipes into the water system. This led to the doubling and tripling of lead levels in blood samples taken from the city’s children. High lead levels can cause permanent neurological damage, and the water contamination has also been linked to at least 12 deaths from Legionnaires’ disease.

The letters threatening foreclosure were sent out last month, right after the Michigan state government stopped subsidizing water bills based on the specious claim that lead levels had been reduced enough to comply with federal regulations. This coincided with the city government’s resumption of mass water shutoffs for unpaid bills.

Read more: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/05/05/flin-m05.html

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