"Rural America’s Drinking-Water Crisis"

"Sparsely populated, low-income communities across the country suffer from polluted water—an injustice expected to worsen under Trump."

"“I’ll be honest with you,” said Gary Michael Hunt. “You never know when you go in there and turn on the faucet if you have water, or if you ain’t going to have no water.” Hunt, a former coal miner who lives in Martin County, Kentucky, said he has had reliability and safety issues with his drinking water for about 25 years—including water permeated by excessive amounts of disinfectant chemicals. “The water stinks. It’s cloudy-looking,” he explained. Hunt’s not alone: More than a thousand of his neighbors in Martin County regularly have to deal with creaky faucets that sometimes spew liquids of various scents and hues.

The county water board says these issues stem from old, busted-up water infrastructure and a “bleak” financial situation. To solve it, the board proposed raising water bills. That did not go well. At a fiscal-court meeting on January 11, Hunt stood up, used profanity, and shook a finger in the board’s direction. A state trooper approached Hunt, pushed him backward by the neck, and escorted him from the courtroom. Hunt was cited for disorderly conduct and has a February 26 court date.

“I would just like for him to say he’s sorry for choking me,” Hunt said. He’d like clean drinking water, too, but neither seem likely for now. A Kentucky State Police spokesperson confirmed that Hunt faces charges; when asked if it was common for officers to place hands on the necks of individuals during arrest, he refused to discuss the matter and hung up."

Sarah Jones and Emily Atkin report for the New Republic February 12, 2018.

Source: New Republic, 02/13/2018