Michigan Charges Ex-Governor Rick Snyder With ‘Neglect’ in Flint Water Crisis

Michigan Charges Ex-Governor Rick Snyder With ‘Neglect’ in Flint Water Crisis

Prosecutors
in

Michigan
have
charged
former
governor
Rick
Snyder,
who
governed
the
state
during
the

Flint
water
crisis,
with
two
counts
of
willful
neglect
of
duty,


The
New
York
Times

reports.
Snyder
faces
up
to
one
year
in
prison
on
the
misdemeanor
charges,
with
a
maximum
fine
of
$1000.

A
previous
investigation
into
the

Flint
water
crisis
had
led
to
charges
against
numerous
city
and
state
officials,
but
in
June
2019
all
those
charges
were
dropped
under
the
direction
of
the
new
attorney
general,
Dana
Nessel.
The
new
charges
brought
against
Snyder
are
the
result
of
a
new
investigation.

The
prosecutors’
findings
will
be
detailed
by
Nessel
on
Thursday,
officials
said
via
the
Times,
and
it’s
expected
that
additional
charges
will
be
brought
against
other
officials
and
associates
of
Snyder.

“We
believe
there
is
no
evidence
to
support
any
criminal
charges
against
Gov.
Snyder,”
Brian
Lennon,
a
lawyer
for
Snyder,
said
on
Wednesday
via
the Times.

These
new
charges
come
five
years
after
the
Flint
water
crisis
became
a
national
scandal:
Residents
in
the
poor
and
predominately
black
city,
about
65
miles
north
of
Detroit,
had
been
exposed
to
toxic
levels
of
lead
from
corrosive
drinking
water
that
flowed
through
aging
pipes.
By
that
point,
in
January
2016,
Flint
residents,
including
thousands
of
children,
had
been
drinking
contaminated
water
drawn
from
the
Flint
River
for
nearly
two
years.

The
city
of
Flint
had
long
relied
on
Detroit’s
water
authority
for
its
drinking
water,
but
that
changed
around
2013.
An
“emergency
manager
appointed
by
Snyder
to
oversee
Flint
decided
the
city
should
cut
ties
with
Detroit
and
join
a
new
water
district,
though
at
the
time
a
proper
pipeline
hadn’t
been
built
yet.
In
April
2014,
the
manager
signed
an
order
to
start
pumping
water
from
the
Flint
River

which
had
long
been
tainted
by
farm
runoff,
industrial
sewage
and
other
waste

a
cost-cutting
measure
that
saved
about
$1
million
a
year.
While
there
was
no
lead
in
the
Flint
River,
the
water
was
so
corrosive
that
treating
it
was
hardly
effective
and
it
was
able
to
leach
lead
out
of
the
old
pipes
as
it
flowed
throughout
the
city.

Problems
began
immediately
with
residents
complaining
about
discolored
water
and
sickness,
while
even
General
Motors
declared
the
Flint
River
water
was
too
corrosive
for
industrial
purposes
and
switched
to
a
cleaner
source.
By
2015,
lead
levels
that
were
nearly
seven
times
the
EPA’s
limit
were
being
detected
in
Flint
homes
and
children
began
testing
positive
for
lead
poisoning.
The
Flint
emergency
manager,
however,
rebuffed
a
city
council
request
to
switch
back
to
Detroit
water
again
citing
costs,
and
for
much
of
the
year
officials
throughout
the
state
downplayed
the
risk.

While
Snyder
finally
agreed
to
switch
Flint’s
water
supply
back
to
Detroit’s
system
in
October
2015,
the
lead
levels
throughout
the
city
remained
overwhelmingly
high.
A
federal
state
of
emergency
was
finally
declared
in
January
2016,
at
which
point
state
health
officials
said
that
every
child
under
six
in
Flint
should
be
considered
lead-exposed.


Additional
reporting
by

Althea
Legaspi

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