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Michigan Governor’s Aides Urged Switch Away From Flint River

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Michigan Governor’s Aides Urged Switch Away From Flint River


By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) – Quality problems prompted two of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s top lawyers to urge that Flint be moved back to the Detroit water system just months after a decision to draw water supply from the Flint River, according to emails released on Friday.

Several critics have called for Snyder to resign over concerns about the state’s poor handling of the crisis, and the governor said Friday he felt regret every day.

Flint switched its water supply from Detroit to the Flint River in April 2014 in a bid to cut costs when the city was under a state-appointed emergency manager.

While the city switched its water source back to Detroit in October 2015, corrosive water from the river had already leached lead from city pipes, posing a serious threat to public health.

Snyder’s aides discussed Flint’s water quality problems as early as autumn 2014, with one calling the situation “downright scary,” about a year before the switch back to the Detroit system was finally made. The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News earlier reported about the emails, which were released by the governor’s office.

“That’s where I’m kicking myself every day,” Snyder said after signing a $30 million supplemental bill to reimburse Flint residents for their water bills. “I wish I would have asked more questions.”

Snyder, scheduled to testify to Congress on March 17, has repeatedly apologized for the state’s poor handling of the crisis.

Liberal group Progress Michigan again called for Snyder to resign, citing the emails.

“There’s no reasonable person who can believe at this point that every top adviser to Rick Snyder knew that there was an issue, but Snyder knew nothing,” said executive director Lonnie Scott, who also called for Snyder’s resignation.

Valerie Brader, Snyder’s senior policy adviser, addressed problems over the quality of Flint River water in an email to the governor’s chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, and others on Oct. 14, 2014.

She argued Flint should be returned to the Detroit water system, citing bacterial contamination and reduced quality that prompted General Motors to switch away from the river due to rusted car parts.

Michael Godola, then the governor’s legal counsel, responded, calling the Flint River as a water source “downright scary.”

On Friday, State Representative Sheldon Neeley of Flint asked Attorney General Bill Schuette for his legal opinion on whether an official withholding information that leads to death or harm can be charged criminally.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Matthew Lewis)

Photo: The top of the Flint Water Plant tower is seen in Flint, Michigan February 7, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook


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  1. Thomas Martin February 27, 2016

    A main purpose of our government is to protect the safety and welfare of the people…NOT TO KILL THEM OR BRING HARM TO THEM.

    1. Marv Nochowitz February 27, 2016

      Not even if it means saving a few dollars so you can give a tax brake to billionaires? Then is it all right to kill and harm regular folks? After all, they probably ae democrats.

  2. Irishgrammy February 27, 2016

    It is one thing to be asked to resign due to some unethical, theft, moral/sexual , circumstance as a politician, usually, Democrats will resign, i.e., Gov. Spitzer,(D/NY) Gov. McGreevy (D/NJ) Rep. A. Weiner (D/NY), however Republicans for reasons only they delude themselves with, tend to just keep hanging on, i.e., Rep. S. Des Jarlais (R/TN), Rep. V McAllister(R/LA) Sen. Vitter (R/LA) guess they have NO moral compass….Most of these dweebs had moral failings, but with this absolute failure of governance and not taking responsibility doing what needed to be done IN REAL TIME with Gov. Snyder, he has destroyed the lives of hundreds of children for ever more, placed an undo burden on their families along with any future health issues for themselves forever more, and because of Snyder’s complete lack of concern and his total indifference TO THESE FAMILIES LIVES, he has contributed to the death of many due to the toxic water increasing levels of toxicity to highly increased levels of Legionnaires Disease let alone the future possible deaths and illness ….This is such a FAILURE of simple, logical, governance, especially when most of mankind has known for decades the consequences of lead poisoning!!! At this time simply resigning is hardly enough of rebuke of this mans utter and complete failures at even “thinking” let alone action, he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!

  3. Insinnergy February 28, 2016

    Snyder is a sewer. Like most Republican Governors/Politicians.

    Yes, nearly all Politicians do bad things, but it’s the Republicans, by and large, who manage the truly large horrific things.

  4. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 28, 2016

    Many who are considered to favor an “Extremist/WIngnut” Party perspective, aren’t as concerned about poor water quality, or giving adequate attention to others, as long as those affected don’t conform to an outlook on other humans based on what sociologists refer to as “MGP” —that’s the acronym for “Minimal Group Paradigm”(see pg 94 of Dr. Nina Jablonski’s book “Living Color—The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color”).

    This term refers to humanity’s latent predisposition to define a “safe” group of people according to class, race, color, religious affiliation, or other outward characteristics in order to determine “friend” from “foe”. This predisposition, when unchecked and unrefined, is the precursor to establishing biases, and which then morph into forms such as racism, class distinction, caste systems, ‘colorism’, tribalism, etc.

    Snyder and many others of his Party are particularly keen to make this a primary determinant in helping to define who to favor, and who to neglect—often with money concerns, or power sharing, as a primary motivator.

    Form a Baha’i perspective, this latent tendency has to be transformed to the extent that the entire human race is considered the “minimal group”. For now, the “Wine” of Christianity, of Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and other former Divine Systems no longer possess the potency of a “New Wine”, and therefore can’t facilitate the global change required.

    The “New Wine” can be “tasted” by referring to the Message proffered to humanity in the form of “The Baha’i Faith”. (And then, much later in humankind’s existence, it will be “replenished” by yet another Revelation, and so on).

    Every era has its own particular set of issues; each major step upwards in humanity’s collective wisdom requires a new set of Laws and Principles with which to revitalize society and address the exigencies of that new era.

    For now, Flint, Chicago, and other communities around the world have to pay the price for not abandoning the current “minimal group” preference. There’s still time, maybe not much, in which to allow for intervention and a “course-correction”.


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