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Child drinking bottled water.

Sterling leadership from West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as concerns persist about whether 300,000 residents have safe drinking water after a chemical leak:
"It's your decision," the governor told reporters during a news conference at the Capitol. "If you do not feel comfortable drinking or cooking with this water, then use bottled water."
Yeah, it's your decision as long as you can afford bottled water, and in a state with 17.8 percent poverty and the third-lowest median income in the country, I'm sure everyone has plenty of money lying around for that added expense. Especially given reports of price gouging as demand for bottled water soared.

This is one of the problems with the prevalence of bottled water these days: It lets those who can afford it (and don't care about the environmental issues in using that many plastic bottles) believe that public water systems don't matter. And as we know from long and bitter experience, once a program, even one as basic as drinking water, comes to be seen as serving mostly those who can't afford to do otherwise, its funding and regulation are likely to be weakened.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 08:10 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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