Michigan governor declares state of emergency over Flint’s toxic water

flint-waterMichigan Governor Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency over Flint’s contaminated drinking water. The announcement comes less than a month after Flint’s mayor declared the same, saying the city’s water was causing elevated levels of lead in children.

In announcing the state of emergency on Tuesday, Governor Snyder said that when the City of Flint switched from the Detroit water system in 2014 to the Flint River as a water source, “the harmful effects of untreated water struck the city’s water infrastructure.”

Snyder said the damaged water infrastructure caused leaching of lead into the water and damage to the water system. This, he said,“has either caused or threatened to cause elevated blood lead levels, especially in the population of children and pregnant women,”creating“a potential immediate threat to public health and safety.”

Snyder’s declaration makes available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery operations and authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to coordinate the state’s efforts.

“Working in full partnership with the Flint Water Advisory Task Force, all levels of government and water quality experts, we will find both short-term and long-term solutions to ensure the health and safety of Flint residents,” Snyder said.

The state of emergency could lead to a future request for federal assistance in the city’s toxic water crisis. The situation has already led to the resignation of the state’s top environmental regulator last month, after a governor-appointed task force held the state environmental agency “primarily responsible” for failure to ensure safe drinking water in Flint. read more