Tags: rick snyder | denies | flint | water | race | michigan

Michigan Gov. Snyder Denies Flint Water Situation Based on Race

MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

By    |   Friday, 22 Jan 2016 09:52 AM

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder denied Friday complaints that the state's government did not act quickly enough to solve the issue of lead pollution in the water supply of Flint, Michigan because of its racial and economic background, insisting that instead there were "terrible decisions" made by a "handful of quote, unquote, experts."

"Flint is a place I've been devoted to helping," Snyder told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, responding to a highly critical article in Thursday's New York Times. "Look at all the work we've done in Detroit, in several cities. I've made a focused effort since before I started in office to say we need to work hard to help people that have the greatest need."

But, Snyder said, the people who made those decisions "work for me and I accept the responsibility and we're going to fix this problem."

Flint's water became contaminated with lead when the city began drawing from the Flint River in 2014 as a cost-cutting measure while under state financial management, but the water was not properly treated to keep lead from pipes from leaching into the community's supply.

Snyder's office released a series of emails this week, including communications from then Chief of Staff Dennis Muchmore that said he could not "figure out why the state is responsible," but noting former state Treasurer Andy Dillon had signed off on the city's plans to build a water pipeline from Lake Huron, which required a temporary switch to the Flint River during construction.

The governor has said he was first briefed on the scope of the problem on Sept. 28. Meanwhile, state epidemiologists validated local physicians' findings on Oct. 1, and Snyder said he immediately ordered the distribution of filters along with water and blood testing.

Meanwhile, reports indicate that General Motors had determined that the Flint River water caused corrosion in its own systems, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said, leading to questions about why the water was determined to be acceptable

"GM is a different situation," said Snyder. "It didn't deal with lead at all. It dealt with chlorine and other questions about the paint process and such."

But as for the bigger question, "there are a number of failures" that took place, including questions about when the alarm was sounded over the water supply after local officials started reporting higher levels of lead.

"When it came to light their conclusions were inaccurate, that was Sept. 21, and we took action on Oct. 2," said Snyder, including pursuing reconnecting Detroit's water system to Flint's.

And there was a "huge bureaucratic problem" when it came to disseminating the information.

"The department people weren't, the heads were not being given the right information by the 'experts,'" said Snyder. "I use that word with great trial and tribulation because they were considered experts in terms of their background. These were career civil servants. Strong science, medical backgrounds in terms of their research. As a practical matter when you look at it today and look at their conclusions, I wouldn't call them experts anymore."

Moving forward, Snyder said he wants to bring in third-party experts "because this is a violation of the people of Flint and the state of Michigan," said Snyder.

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder denied Friday complaints that the state's government did not act quickly enough to solve the issue of lead pollution in the water supply of Flint, Michigan because of its racial and economic background, insisting that instead there were "terrible decisions" made...
rick snyder, denies, flint, water, race, michigan
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2016-52-22
Friday, 22 Jan 2016 09:52 AM
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