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The State of Michigan on Friday activated a website containing a trove of e-mails related to the Flint drinking water public health crisis, which began as a catastrophe involving lead contamination and has expanded to include a possible link to outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease that resulted in nine deaths.
The documentation represents requests fulfilled to date by the Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Treasury, Department of Technology, Management and Budget, and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development regarding Flint water, the governor's office said in a news release.
"All levels of government failed the people of Flint,” Snyder said. “This crisis should never have happened, but we are making progress each day to meet the needs of residents. By making the information easily accessible, everyone can review it and take what they need, and then we can all focus and work together on solutions, healing and moving Flint forward."
For the full article, see Paul Egan, "State releases trove of e-mails related to Flint water", Detroit Free Press, February 12, 2016.
For three years, the truth took a holiday in Flint.
State and federal officials calmly exchanged thousands of emails, documents obtained by The Detroit News show, citing arcane rules that ensured the city of 100,000 could be forced to wait years for its noxious water problem to be rectified. They haggled over process and turf, shirked responsibility and dismissed increasingly dire concerns of frustrated residents contending with tainted brown water flowing from their taps.
More than a year before Gov. Rick Snyder in January publicly confirmed an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint and surrounding Genesee County, officials from the then-separate state departments of community health and health and human services debated a “current hypothesis” that “the source of the outbreak may be the Flint municipal water.”
For the full editorial, see Daniel Howes, "Truth is biggest casualty in Flint debacle", Detroit News, February 12, 2016.
Michigan regulators who failed to ensure proper corrosion control chemicals were added to Flint’s drinking water spent six months dismissing evidence of their error and considered ways to muzzle the federal expert who first sounded alarms about it.
More than 24,000 pages of documents from state agencies involved in Flint water quality issues provide a clearer picture of how the crisis developed. They show water quality complaints from Flint residents, federal officials and whistle-blowers alike were challenged by state bureaucrats, who insisted on strict adherence to their interpretation of federal rules.
For the full article, see Jonathan Oosting, Christine MacDonald, Joel Kurth and Jim Lynch, "Regulators dismissed dissenters on Flint crisis", The Detroit News, February 12, 2016.
For another, see Joel Kurth, Jonathan Oosting, Christine MacDonald and Jim Lynch, "DEQ official: Staffers earn raises for Flint work", The Detroit News, February 12, 2016.
Jonathan Oosting and Chad Livengood, "Snyder aides considered Flint water filters in March", Detroit News, February 12, 2016
At least six Environmental Protection Agency officials discussed in late March Genesee County’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreak and a suspected link to Flint’s change in water sources — and were told the state would alert the public.
No pronouncements about the outbreak were made then. Two months later, a Michigan health official’s email to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared “the outbreak is over.” The disease would kill four more people in the summer and fall and would not be brought to the public’s attention until the next year.
When the public was informed, the words came from Gov. Rick Snyder during a Jan. 13 press conference. Snyder maintained he had heard about the Legionnaires’ outbreak two days earlier.
For the full article, see Chad Livengood and Karen Bouffard, "On verge of Flint Legionnaires’ alert, state stayed mum; Official said outbreak was over, but Genesee cases kept coming", The Detroit News, February 12, 2016.
Fears over eating produce from gardens in Flint fed by suspect water. The plight of children who drank city water but now live elsewhere. A lack of information about how to survive when lead-tainted water still flows from taps.
Those were the revelations that Gov. Rick Snyder said he gleaned Thursday from talking to Flint residents by phone during a virtual town hall about the city's drinking water crisis.
"We've learned something from every time we've done these calls," Snyder told listeners during the 45-minute call.
Phoning Flint residents and patching them in directly to the second-term Republican governor is one of the ways his administration has tried to push out information about the crisis directly to those affected.
For the full article, see Matthew Dolan, "Snyder to Flint: Pick up the phone. It's your governor", Detroit Free Press, February 12, 2016.
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