FLINT (AP) — The federal government has joined Gov. Rick Snyder in challenging a court order that bars a Flint hospital from contacting state health authorities on any issue related to the city’s water woes.

The Department of Health and Human Services says the order is having a “chilling effect” on relationships between local, state and federal governments.

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The August order by a Flint-area judge tells McLaren Hospital and others to talk only to the county health department on Flint water-related matters. The attorney general’s office has defended the order, saying investigators are trying to protect data related to lead poisoning and deaths from Legionnaires’ disease.

The state appeals court is reviewing the order.

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Flint’s water was contaminated by lead because water from the Flint River wasn’t properly treated.

 

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