As more charges are announced in the Flint water investigation, Democrats demand that Snyder be held to account for his role

schutteflint

Saying, “Some people failed to act, others minimized harm done and arrogantly chose to ignore data, some intentionally altered figures and covered up significant health risks,” Michigan Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced criminal charges yesterday against six current and former state employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in connection to the Flint water crisis, bringing the total number of those charged to eight. The following clip comes from the Slate.

…Per Schuette and other officials who spoke Friday, Michigan DHHS employees commissioned a report in July 2015 that found rising blood-lead levels in Flint children but then “buried” its results. The MDEQ employees are charged with hiding evidence that Flint’s water did not meet federal standards.

Said Schuette: “Each of these individuals attempted to bury, or cover up, to downplay or hide information that contradicted their own narrative and their story—and their narrative and their story was that there was nothing wrong with Flint’s water.”

Independently gathered evidence that Flint’s water contained dangerously high amounts of lead, and that many children in the city had high levels of lead in their blood, was made public in September 2015. The city (under state supervision) had switched to a new water source in April 2014 but failed to take proper precautions to prevent lead from plumbing materials from leaching into tap water…

And now the question becomes, will Governor Snyder be held accountable for the role that he played. The following comes from Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich of Flint.

“While it is important for us to hold all bad actors within the state government accountable for their action or inaction leading up to the Flint water crisis, we cannot lose sight of who holds ultimate responsibility. The decision to switch the water systems was made by one single official, who only reported to Gov. Rick Snyder. Attorney General Schuette has said that the governor may have compromised his investigation into the situation, and the governor needs to acknowledge and address his tampering — and the likely motivation behind it. It’s time for the attorney general to hold Gov. Snyder and the top officials working directly beneath him accountable for their role in this crisis.”

Congressman Elijah Cummings, who questioned Snyder as a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, had the following to say about our Governor’s role.

“These criminal charges are one small step towards bringing to justice those officials who are responsible for poisoning their own communities, and they are a stark reminder of the corrupted model of government that places cost-cutting above the lives of its own citizens. I continue to have grave concerns about the governor’s ongoing refusal to cooperate fully with the congressional investigation into this matter, and I believe his actions are compromising the integrity of our inquiry.”

[In addition to announcing charges against the six state employees yesterday, a civil lawsuit was filed in Flint in Genesee County Circuit Court against two firms that had consulted on the Flint Water Treatment Plant for their failure to act.]

SUGGESTED FURTHER READING:

With evidence that Snyder discussed the problem of lead contamination in Flint’s water with his advisors as early as the summer of 2015, the Governor’s hand-selected Flint Water Advisory Task Force had no choice but to turn on him in their scathing final report

Saying they “delayed our action plan,” Rick Snyder lays the blame for the Flint water disaster at the feet of “career civil servants” who cared more about process than people

Saying they “delayed our action plan,” Rick Snyder lays the blame for the Flint water disaster at the feet of “career civil servants” who cared more about process than people

This is why we use the word “coverup” when talking about the Flint water crisis

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34 Comments

  1. anonymous
    Posted July 31, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    It’s been established that there was a cover up. Now does Schutte have subpoena power to see how far up the chain of command it goes?

  2. Gretchen Forshay
    Posted July 31, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Snyder has plausible deniability on his side. I don’t doubt for a moment that this happened because of the culture that he brought with him, but I don’t think we’ll find evidence that he personally told anyone to hide the facts. He’s too smart for that.

  3. Idiot Larson
    Posted July 31, 2016 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Regardless of what happened, Snyder’s response was so poor that he should at least have the sense to step down.

  4. EOS
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    The EPA should have protected Flint. Obama should be held accountable and be forced to step down.

  5. Posted August 1, 2016 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    lol

  6. Posted August 1, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    God should be held accountable and should do the right thing and step down.

    What a miserable dereliction of duty.

    Better yet, God deserves the death penalty, or at least banishment to Hell.

  7. wobblie
    Posted August 2, 2016 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    What a foul hypocrite you are EOS. You and folks like you have wanted to get rid of the EPA since Nixon set it up. In the scriptures I read, after the rich who will never pass through the gates of paradise, it is hypocrites who are the most vile form of humanity.

  8. Posted August 2, 2016 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    EOS was against the EPA before she was for it.

    God will bless the water and protect the residents of Flint. We need to do nothing more than let the free market, God’s highest form of expression, figure it out. After all the cases of impaired mental development in children come out, people will look to another water provider.

    We need only wait.

  9. EOS
    Posted August 2, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The question is, how much money are you willing to spend on an EPA that can’t insure safe drinking water? That can’t clean up Superfund sites? Whose main purpose seems to be regulating businesses out of existence and reducing employment? I oppose the EPA because they can’t do the job, and the fact that they consistently fail and do little good just causes the useful idiots to ask for more funding. If the money were kept local, we could have cleaned up Water Street and the old dump by now. Instead, they are on a list that is meaningless.

    It was an appeal to absurdity. If Snyder must go because he was in charge, why stop there? Obama is in charge. As I have said on this site before, the responsibility for providing safe drinking water is relegated to local authorities. The Democrats in Flint screwed up. But Yeah, Blame Snyder.

  10. Todd Spencer
    Posted August 2, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    The very fact that Schuette is prosecuting this case and not the feds tells you that they are protecting their own. Massive conflict of interest here, to have a good ol’ boy prosecuting little guys to protect other big fish who were complicit/derelict. If I’m a defense attorney for the MDEQ and HHS employees, that’s my first argument. Scapegoat hunt.

  11. Mr. X
    Posted August 2, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    “The question is, how much money are you willing to spend on an EPA that can’t insure safe drinking water?”

    It sounds to me as though you’re suggesting that we put more funding behind the EPA and give them the tools they need to really go after polluters in a meaningful way. I agree completely, EOS.

  12. Henry Edward Hardy
    Posted August 2, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Let the parade of low-level scapegoats begin!

  13. Zachary Jones
    Posted August 2, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I’m tired of this story. Yes, an awful act was perpetrated against the people of Flint, but now we’re getting to a point where the cost to investigate and prosecute will be so high (already in the eight digits) it will eat into real solutions for the problem. That money should be going towards fixing the problem, new pipes, better testing, better training for staff, etc. Do people really need to serve prison time for trying to save the city and state tax dollars? Their intent was not to harm the city, but rather help. Mind you it was done wrong, but I don’t believe for a second criminal intent was made by any of the people involved.

    Schuette is only wasting tax dollars just to keep his name in the papers so he can be the next governor. Should those involved lose their jobs and be black listed from other government jobs? Yes. Should those involved spend a fortune defending themselves and serve a prison sentence? No.

    Our attention is being drawn away from the problem. Instead of saving the boy in the well, we’re attacking the kid that pushed him.

  14. Shane Davis
    Posted August 2, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    If they prove Snyder’s involvement and he gets jail time then we can stop him from hurting more people. That is a great reason to continue this process.

  15. Mr. X
    Posted August 2, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I appreciate what you’re saying, Zachary, and I definitely wouldn’t want resources being diverted from helping the people of Flint, who have suffered too long. At the same time, however, I think we need to acknowledge that this is bigger than just Michigan. Our entire nation is being pushed toward a system of smaller government where things like this are more likely to happen, and I think it’s imperative that we not just let these instances pass. We need to fight now, and fight hard, so that the same thing doesn’t happen again.

  16. Posted August 2, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    EOS is s0 2009.

  17. EOS
    Posted August 2, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Mr X,
    Do you realize that you just put yourself in the “useful idiot” category? If it doesn’t fix the problem it was intended to solve, you end the program and don’t throw more money at it.

  18. stupid hick
    Posted August 2, 2016 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    EOS, now let’s hear your argument why we shouldn’t have police because they can’t stop crime.

  19. EOS
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    The police work well because they are under local control. There are not dozens of layers of bureaucracy between the crimes in a community and those who respond and apprehend the criminals. Neighborhood watch groups regularly meet with officers and patrolmen and there is a two way discussion. Citizens personally know the individuals responsible for their protection and can hold them responsible. It is the families and communities responsibility to stop crime and the police’s responsibility to investigate crimes and apprehend criminals. If I had a policing problem, I would call or email Sheriff Clayton. I would recognize him on the street even if he were out of uniform. But I don’t know the individual from the EPA who is responsible for an environmental disaster should it occur in my neighborhood.

  20. Posted August 3, 2016 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    “The police work well because they are under local control.”

    Clearly, this is not the case everywhere. A lot of dead black people would disagree with you.

    Weren’t you the one that wanted cameras on black people? And wanted to figure out ways to control black people without being accused of racism? Perhaps given the there are people like you, we do need state or federal level oversight of police departments.

    Ah yes, those aren’t people. It says so in the Bible.

  21. EOS
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Never said I wanted cameras on black people or cameras in any neighborhood. This is the 3rd time you have accused me of this. Either post the evidence or stop lying. It is not true no matter how many times you try to smear me with these lies.

  22. stupid hick
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Even though the police are under local control, crime still occurs, and they don’t solve all crimes that do happen. Therefore they fail, according to the standard you set for the EPA.

  23. Meta
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    “Flint loses its ability to sue the state for the water crisis”

    From the Associated Press:

    Days after Flint’s mayor served notice the city might sue Michigan over Flint’s crisis with lead-tainted water, the state removed the city’s ability to sue.

    Flint hasn’t been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, but the state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

    The Detroit Free Press reports the board moved quickly following the notice in late March to change the rules so the city cannot sue without first getting approval from the board.

    Read more:
    http://michiganradio.org/post/flint-loses-its-ability-sue-state-water-crisis

  24. iRobert
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    EOS feels the EPA should protect us from the profiteering schemes of people he elects. He’s right.

    By the way, Snyder is nothing but a halfwitted stooge who was talked into running for Governor by the cabal of crooked businessmen who have long highjacked Michigan away from the general citizenry.

    They appealed to that fucked up ego of his, and convinced him he had what it takes to be governor. He’s a stupid sap who bought that bullshit, hook, line, and sinker.

    Having that stooge in the governors office enabled them to proceed with their usual private profiteering schemes, one of which got thousands of children lead poisoned. Just par for the course in the idiocracy of Michigan.

  25. EOS
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    iRobert,

    There are lead supply lines in Ypsilanti, and certainly lead pipes in some private homes and businesses. Does the national infrastructure of the EPA have our neighbors at the top of their priority list? Why is it the governors problem and not the individual owners or the city or county? My guess is that he’s the first Republican up the chain of command in our government. Everything local is controlled by Democrats for as long as I can remember. By the way, the water supply is controlled by local governments in our state. What has been done by anyone to address our local problem, locally?

  26. iRobert
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    EOS: “There are lead supply lines in Ypsilanti, and certainly lead pipes in some private homes and businesses. Does the national infrastructure of the EPA have our neighbors at the top of their priority list?”

    The answer is “NO,” especially now that the GOP controls the federal executive branch. They intend to dismantle the EPA entirely, and that’s exactly what they’ve been doing.

    EOS: “Why is it the governors problem and not the individual owners or the city or county?”

    With respect to Flint, the governor acted only as a stooge for the profiteers who are looking to destroy the Detroit water system and turn it into another one of their profiteering rackets. That’s why it’s the governor’s problem.

    EOS: “My guess is that he’s the first Republican up the chain of command in our government.”

    Wrong.

    EOS: “Everything local is controlled by Democrats for as long as I can remember.”

    I can’t make any informed statements about Ypsi. I am not a resident and do not follow the politics or business there.

    EOS: “By the way, the water supply is controlled by local governments in our state. What has been done by anyone to address our local problem, locally?”

    With regard to Flint, many, and likely most local officials who didn’t do their jobs, are Democrats. I don’t defend them. Unlike yourself, I don’t go silent over details which reflect poorly on the party I favor.

    Still, this entire Flint crisis was the result of the move by profiteering schemers to break up a well functioning public water system, for the sole purpose of shifting these public assets in pieces to their private businesses.

    Now, naturally, nobody talks about that aspect of what happened, for obvious reasons. Even the Democrats have been pretending like the initial scheme was magnanimous. It was nothing but the usual highjacking of public property and assets by private interests seeking to create another moneymaker for themselves, at great loss and expense to the public. That’s essentially all the GOP is anymore.

  27. iRobert
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I would assume, EOS, that you would oppose schemes to steal publicly owned property, wealth or assets. I would assume you would at least feel the taxpayers should be completely compensated for any publicly owned assets which are given away to private business. But I guess you also have difficulty opposing your idols.

  28. iRobert
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Most Democrats have been saying this was all the unfortunate consequence of our wonderful public officials trying to save the taxpayers money. That suggestion is an absurd joke.

  29. iRobert
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    So, essentially, I agree with you, EOS, in that it is primarily (and usually entirely) the responsibility of local officials to manage the quality and safety of water systems. However, the move to break up the well-functioning Deteoit system, was carried out by scheming business interests who put Snyder in office as their stooge for just such purposes.

    Whenever these scheming profiteers do anything, they are entirely focused on their own benefits. They don’t concern themselves with safety of the public or the environment. They focus entirely on their scheme and maximizing their own benefit from it. It is why so much goes to hell when such characters hijack local, state, or even the federal government. They don’t concern themselves with the due diligence associated with actual governance.

    This is why Snyder has been such a dismal failure. In 8 years he couldn’t even overcome the simplest challenge on behalf of taxpayers. The roads were bad when he cane in, and they’re even worse now. That’s practically the definition of pathetic.

  30. Demetrius
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    The City of Ypsilanti replaced nearly all of its legacy (lead) service lines between 2001 and 2005 – in conjunction with a comprehensive local street rebuilding program.

    Ypsilanti likely still has a a few lead service lines remaining under some non-local (county) streets, and of course – property owners are still responsible for the lines that run between the street and homes or businesses. Nonetheless, Ypsilanti is one of only a handful of communities in Michigan that has largely replaced its (main) water lines.

    The proposal to issue bonds to replace these water lines, and to rebuild local streets was, at the time, expensive and controversial. (Critics claimed it was unnecessary … just another government “tax grab.”) But, in retrospect, it now seems clear this was a wise decision.

    https://www.cityofypsilanti.com/DocumentCenter/View/876/Community-News-Release–YCUA-Water-Services

  31. iRobert
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Has Ypsilanti Township switched out their lead lines as well?

  32. EOS
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    IRobert,

    No, both the Township and the City get their water from YCUA. As in the city, most supply lines have been converted, but some remain. And many privately owned buildings still have lead lined pipes. All I could get from YCUA is that they are proud of the fact that they have a complete inventory of the types of lines used and where they are, because most communities don’t even know the number or extent of their lead pipes. No plans at this time to replace all supply lines. No plans to provide low cost options for homeowners/businesses to replace their lines. With enough pressure from citizens, we could encourage YCUA to speed up replacement and coordinate with contractors to provide low cost replacement for private concerns. There should be a reduction in cost for volume purchases.

    It looks likely that Ann Arbor will soon be getting their drinking water from Detroit as well and maybe join YCUA. Maybe we would have greater numbers of customers demanding replacement of all lead pipes.

    Or we could sit around and bitch about how it is the other parties fault and let another generation of kids suffer permanent damage.

  33. Jean Henry
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    EOS– Why do you believe Ann Arbor will be switching to Detroit water supply? I had not heard anything. There has been talk of needed a water treatment infrastructure upgrade as well as concerns about PFA’s and the Dioxane 1,4 plume, but nothing that I hear about changing our water source.
    Legitimate interest here.

  34. EOS
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m guessing because of the PFAs. I’m not aware of a inexpensive treatment to remove these. The state recently warned against eating any fish in the chain of lakes, Huron River, Ford Lake, Belleville Lake. Joining a regional water source that has high quality water would be a cost effective solution. I don’t have any specific information, purely speculation on my part. Too many educated persons in Ann Arbor to put up with a contaminated water source.

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