On Thursday, Progress Michigan released emails showing that fresh water was being delivered to city and state officials shortly after the water test showed high levels of those chemical compounds. The state told workers that they could use the water coolers or drinking fountains. “While residents were being told to relax and not worry about the water, the Snyder administration was taking steps to limit exposure in its own building”.
The damage to Flint’s water distribution infrastructure is potentially $713 million, according to an assessment by Genesee County and cited in the state’s request for federal assistance.
The governor’s spokesman Dave Murray said the federal legislation is being reviewed, but he declined to say if Snyder supports it. Snyder is “always grateful for support from our federal partners”, he said.
On Jan. 5, Snyder declared a state of emergency to deal with Flint’s poisonous water supply, and later called in the Michigan National Guard to distribute bottled water. Ted Cruz said the water emergency was a failure at every level of government and some of his MI volunteers handed out water in Flint. But Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, successfully pushed to include $500,000 for outside experts to conduct an infrastructure integrity study.
The water coolers were introduced after Flint officials warned residents about elevated levels of a disinfection byproduct called trihalomethane in the city’s water.
Residents are outraged that they continue to receive water bills for the poisoned water in Flint. The crisis has been ongoing for over a year now, but has recently gained media attention as more information about what public officials knew, or denied knowing, is being made available to the public.
This Jan. 21, 2016 photo shows the water tower at the Flint, Mich., water plant.
Snyder, himself a Republican, said Friday that it would be irresponsible not to act.
Republicans promised amendments to block an administration plan to halt new coal leases on federal lands, for instance, while Democrats said they would push policies to address global warming.
He compared what is happening in Flint with what happened in Toledo during the summer of 2014 when a toxic mat of algae coated Lake Erie and cut off water for a half million people for several days. “That’s 102,000 citizens times 200 bottles of water – which equals 20.4 million 16 oz. bottles of water per day, every day, for the next year or two until this problem is fixed”.
Drinking water in Flint was contaminated after the city moved away from the Detroit water system in 2014 and began pulling water from the polluted Flint River. MI law states that parents are neglectful if they do not have running water in their home, and if they chose not to pay for water they can’t drink anyway, then they could be guilty of child endangerment.