The Howard E. Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium Series
“The Flint Water Crisis: The Promises and Perils of Practicing Science for the Public Good”
By Siddhartha Roy, Engineer, and Postdoc, at Virginia Tech.
A citizen science collaboration between Flint residents, the Virginia Tech “Flint Water Study” team, and others helped uncover the Flint, MI Water Crisis. The resulting Federal Emergency declaration in January 2016 led to over $600 million in relief funding, an acknowledged case of environmental injustice, and resignations/indictments of public officials. Post-Emergency, when responsible government agencies apologized and rededicated themselves to making amends and helping the recovery, Flint became a battlefield in which science anarchists, led by few postmodern academics, a Hollywood actor’s non-profit, a news organization and select residents, engaged in bad science and hurt public health. This talk will revisit the events in Flint and underscore challenges of conducting quality science for the public good.