Sen. Mike Lee, popularly known for shutting down the Federal government and being one of Sen. Ted Cruz’s few friends, has again chosen obstructionist ways as the only senator to block federal aid to the city of Flint, Michigan to help with its lead poisoning crisis.
The senator–who said Flint’s lead epidemic is a local rather than federal issue–has stated he will introduce a bill to bring back leaded gasoline.
“Ever since the government interfered and banned lead in gasoline back in 1995, individual liberty has suffered,” the maverick congressman said. “A little lead in the blood isn’t a big deal. I used to eat paint chips all the time as a kid, and look at me — I’m a senator.”
Lead was added to gasoline in the early 20th century because it improved engine performance and had better fuel efficiency. It was discontinued after advances in technology made it unnecessary and because of the effects of lead poisoning had long been documented and considered a serious health concern. Since the ban, lead levels in the average American have gone down roughly 75 percent. The exposure citizens in Flint have received from its contaminated water supply has scandalized that city’s incompetent and callous government leaders. Sen. Lee, however, said the move to re-lead fuel is about something much more significant than a few health problems.
“This is symbolic of our need to ween off the nanny state,” Sen. Lee said. “By reintroducing lead into gasoline, we are affirming Reagan’s statement that man is not free unless government is limited.”
“If anything, the situation in Flint reminds us of the need for self-reliance,” the senator added. “The government can’t save you, and I’m going to see that it won’t.”