Democrats are planning to announce a legislative proposal Thursday outlining a federal response to the water contamination crisis in Flint, Mich.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid discussed the legislation briefly Wednesday in the run-up to an energy bill debate on the floor. He said Democrats will attempt to include the measure in the comprehensive energy legislation, called the Energy Policy Modernization Act.
"The issue is what do we do about Flint?" the Nevada Democrat told reporters. "We want something to be done, because this is an issue that's going to come back." He would not say what the bill would do, or disclose any details.
Lead contamination of Flint's water supply was discovered some months ago, but recent developments over a possible coverup by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder have driven it into the national spotlight.
Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin later said the Flint proposal could have something to do with protecting people from "deadly" water contamination. He said the "next time someone stands in front of this mic and starts railing against government regulation, I hope you will mention two words to them: Flint, Michigan."
In April 2014, Flint switched its water source from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, which draws water from Lake Huron, to a local agency that also would take water from the lake.
However, the infrastructure needed to get water from Lake Huron to Flint under the new agency was not yet built, so an emergency manager appointed by Gov. Snyder decided to take water from the Flint River as a temporary measure.
The water from the Flint River is so polluted and acidic that the water ate away at the lead pipes bringing water to the city's homes.