The Néw York Times reviewed 274 pages of emails released by Governor Snyder’s office about the Flint water crisis. Confronted with multiple claims that something was wrong with the water, the Snyder administration belittled the critics.
“The correspondence records mounting complaints by the public and elected officials, as well as growing irritation by state officials over the reluctance to accept their assurances.
“It was not until late in 2015, after months of complaints, that state officials finally conceded what critics had been contending: that Flint was in the midst of a major public health emergency, as tap water pouring into families’ homes contained enough lead to show up in the blood of dozens of people in the city. Even small amounts of lead could cause lasting health and developmental problems in children….
“Though Mr. Snyder issued the emails as part of an effort to reveal the administration’s transparency on the matter, the documents provide a glimpse of state leaders who were at times dismissive of the concerns of residents, seemed eager to place responsibility with local government and, even as the scientific testing was hinting at a larger problem, were reluctant to acknowledge it.
“The messages show that from the moment Flint decided to draw its water from a new source, the Flint River, officials were discounting concerns about its quality and celebrating a change meant to save the cash-starved city millions of dollars. From 2011 to 2015, Flint was in state receivership, its finances controlled by a succession of four emergency managers appointed by Mr. Snyder’s administration.
“That upbeat mood lasted for months, even as residents began complaining about the new water’s foul odor, odd color and strange health effects, and began showing up at events with “jugs of brownish water.”
The governor has apologized.
He should be charged with willfully endangering the lives of the citizens of Flint and held accountable for his administration’s criminal negligence.