LANSING (WWJ) – Governor Rick Snyder says he’s releasing emails linked to the Flint water crisis on Wednesday, so the entire state can see what happened over the past 18 months leading the city to this point.
Speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950 following his annual State of the State speech Tuesday night, the second-term Republican vowed to release his own emails regarding Flint’s water, which became contaminated with too much lead when the city switched its water source in 2014 as a cost-cutting measure.READ MORE: A Look Into Cost Of Prescription Drugs Following Passage Of Inflation Reduction Act
Snyder said he has nothing to hide.
“I don’t think there are any early warning signs in those emails. Again, I had various briefings on people working the water system and this is again where I was getting bad information from the people that were working for me down several layers,” he said. “Our team continued to push but we got answers from both the DEQ and the Department of Health and Human Services that seemed to confirm that there was not a problem. Those were incorrect.”
The emails can be read online at michigan.gov/Snyder.
The Flint water crisis began in 2014 when a state-appointed emergency manager switched Flint from Detroit water to Flint River water to save money. The corrosive water caused lead to leach from old pipes. Flint returned to the Detroit system in October after elevated lead levels were discovered in children.
Snyder said as soon as the problem was brought to his attention, he took dramatic action.
“The issue now is, in my perspective, let’s really work on a solution. People will spend time going back through it, there are a number of investigations and I appreciate them investigating. These are all things that we’ll learn from, in terms of what happened and when in terms of even more detail, but let’s make sure we’re taking care of the people of Flint as best we can — and that’s where I’m putting my focus,” he said. “Let’s go deal with the damage, let’s take care of the people of Flint, let’s take care of the children of Flint, let’s get them safe drinking water and move forward.”
The lead contamination — which can lead to behavior problems and learning disabilities in children and kidney ailments in adults — has left Flint residents unable to drink unfiltered tap water.
Snyder said the crisis has taken a toll on him personally.READ MORE: New Federal Rules On Ghost Guns Are Set To Take Effect Next Week
“It’s very difficult, obviously. These are terrible things you don’t want to see happen. You don’t just back away from it, you try to solve the problem when something like this occurs,” he said. “This is something that’s a terrible thing for the people of Flint. I’m sorry and I want to fix it, and I’m focused on fixing it.”
One thought that has never crossed his mind during this whole ordeal is resigning from his position as the state’s leader.
“I think I made that clear — I don’t believe you should just quit,” said Snyder. “You take the issue on and you do your best to solve the problem, and we’ve done a lot to solve the problem but more needs to be done.”
In his State of the State address Tuesday night, Snyder committed $28 million more in the short term to pay for more filters, bottled water, school nurses, intervention specialists, testing and monitoring — on top of $10.6 million allocated in the fall. The money also would replace plumbing fixtures in schools with lead problems and could help Flint with unpaid water bills.
The new round of funding, which requires approval from the GOP-led Legislature, is intended as another short-range step while Snyder works to get a better handle on the long-range costs. He plans to make a bigger request in his February budget proposal.
Snyder also announced the deployment of roughly 130 more National Guard members to the city and revealed his appeal of President Barack Obama’s denial of a federal disaster declaration for the area.
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