Elon Musk has been taking a good bit of criticism lately, much of it deserved. After enduring quite a bit of roasting over his ineffective efforts to help kids trapped in a cave in Thailand, he’s now pledged to help every single person in Flint, Michigan, who is still affected by the water crisis.
It’s become a bit of a tradition on Twitter to remind Musk that some thousands of households in Flint need the piping that brings water to their home’s replaced. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality found that Flint’s water system was free of dangerous levels of lead contamination in January 2017, but the problem won’t truly be solved until all the pipes are replaced—a process that can raise the lead levels for certain properties. For now, residents are being told to keep using a filter or bottled water.
The presence of lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint first came to the public’s attention in 2014 and has since become one of the greatest sources of shame in the United States. Not shame for Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, whose administration is largely responsible for the crisis. No, he’s still in office, drinking clean water. It’s just one of those things that makes you ashamed to be an American.
On Tuesday, after repeatedly being reminded about the crisis whenever he announced one of his minimal efforts to do some good in the world, Musk said he was going to help fix Flint. When one user tweeted, “Hey @elonmusk I heard a bunch of people saying there’s NO WAY you could help get clean water to Flint, Michigan. Said you wouldn’t be capable idk,” Musk responded:
Just in case something mysterious happens to that tweet, Musk said, and we quote, “Please consider this a commitment that I will fund fixing the water in any house in Flint that has water contamination above FDA levels. No kidding.”
Musk soon began clarifying what he meant by “fund fixing the water” in another tweet:
Musk then began publicly brainstorming about how his plan would work.
So, the plan is not quite locked down. And as you might have noticed in Musk’s first tweet, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not the federal agency that polices public tap water. (That’d be the Environmental Protection Agency; the FDA does regulate the quality of bottled water, however.) But this promise isn’t something you want to quibble with. It’s not something where you want to question his wording or point out that he might be misunderstanding what he’s committing to. The meaning of his tweet is clear, and to take it back would be quite a dick move.