MI governor appoints Flint whistleblowers to remedy water crisis

Wednesday, 03 Feb, 2016

The city's water supply has tested positive for lead and other contaminants forcing residents to drink and use bottled water.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's (R) administration has estimated that replacing the city's lead pipes would cost $55 million.

Snyder did not rule out the eventual replacement of the lead service lines leading from water mains, but said it is a longer-term consideration. The governor again took responsibility for the failure to protect Flint households from lead, which leached into the water supply from aging pipes when the city switched to the more corrosive river water and the state neglected to add protective chemicals.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, the governor says the 17-member committee will make recommendations regarding the health of people exposed to lead, study Flint's water infrastructure and determine potential upgrades, and establish ways to improve communication between local and state government. Nowling, who used to be a reporter for the now defunct Brighton Argus in the 1990's, was a spokesman for Snyder's 2010 campaign and for former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

The president of Tougaloo says they are happy to give back to the Mayor of Flint, who is an Alum of the college.

The students and faculty at Tougaloo College are working to bring some relief to Flint, Michigan, during their water crisis. The federal complaint was filed today by the NRDC, the ACLU of Michigan, Concerned Pastors for Social Action, and Flint resident Melissa Mays.

Snyder also said he has asked the federal government to expand medicaid to anyone under the age of 21.

It is also asking the court to order state officials to completely replace all lead service lines in the water system at no cost to customers, including privately owned lines.

Activists in Flint plan to present petitions with nearly 20,000 signatures to Weaver and Snyder on Thursday calling for a moratorium on water bills.

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Already, Susan Hedman, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regional administrator for Flint, Michigan, has resigned in the wake of the crisis.

"The damage done to the city's pipes from the Flint River water means that lead will continue to contaminate the city's drinking water".

Lead exposure is harmful to everyone, but it can have devastating impacts on young children by irreversibly harming brain development. Flint residents are now unable to drink unfiltered tap water due to the contamination, and tests have shown high lead levels in some children's blood.

In recent days, a growing number of American pop icons have pledged to help... sending thousands of bottles of water to Flint.

He announced that the state will have an increased administrative presence in Flint and called it the beginning of a long-term effort.

The embattled governor announced a series of new actions to address the water crisis, which has spawned two criminal investigations and a federal emergency declaration.

On Wednesday, a group of organizations filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Flint and MI governments of violating federal laws that regulate drinking water.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has named a special prosecutor and investigator to look into possible crimes in the crisis.