Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has been criticized by state and local officials for his response to the Flint Water Crisis, which prompted his office to assemble an investigative panel. In a report released by the panel, it found that the state is wholly responsible for the contamination of Flint’s drinking water, Think Progress reports.
The Flint Water Advisory Task Force’s scathing report was released Wednesday, highlighting the negligence of emergency managers and their handling of the crisis. The 116-page report landed on Gov. Snyder’s desk Monday, which was conducted by a five-person team. The report’s summary statement opens with a pointed critique of the state government’s handling of the matter, and the report details the assortment of failures that led to the crisis.
From the panel’s report:
The Flint water crisis is a story of government failure, intransigence,unpreparedness, delay,inaction, and environmental injustice. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality(MDEQ) failed in its fundamental responsibility to effectively enforce drinking water regulations.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) failed to adequately and promptly act to protect public health. Both agencies, but principally the MDEQ, stubbornly worked to discredit and dismiss others’ attempts to bring the issues of unsafe water, lead contamination, and increased cases of Legionellosis (Legionnaires’ disease) to light. With the City of Flint under emergency management, the Flint Water Department rushed unprepared into fulltime operation of the Flint Water Treatment Plant, drawing water from a highly corrosive source without the use of corrosion control.
State-appointed emergency managers solely assigned to inform and seek guidance from Gov. Snyder regarding the crisis failed to do their jobs in a correct manner. The report adds that emergency managers made the decision to switch Flint’s water source from Detroit and instead to use Flint River resources. This contrasts with former emergency manager Darnell Earley‘s claims that the situation was handled otherwise.
The report places the failures in the crisis squarely on the actions of the MDEQ and emergency managers, who both report to Gov. Snyder. This also puts full accountability onto the state and brings to light that back in 2014, Gov. Synder’s staff made Flint’s situation a priority but it was bypassed due to the dire financial straits of the state and false assurance that the drinking water was not tainted. However, Gov. Snyder was partly relying on information that was incorrectly provided by state agencies.
SOURCE: Think Progress | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty