Flint Water Crisis Timeline

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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun May 29, 2016 11:51 am

JUST IN: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Hit With Federal RICO Lawsuit For Flint Water Disaster
APRIL 6TH, 2016 BIPARTISAN REPORT POLITICS


The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has already cost thousands of residents sleepless nights, endless visits to doctors as they see about their poisoned children, and proven yet again that too often in this country people cannot trust their elected representatives to do what is in the public interest.


Special:
Now, it will cost Michigan Governor Rick Snyder one massive headache atop the one he has already inflicted on himself and his state. Snyder, it was announced today, is now the subject of a federal racketeering (RICO) lawsuit filed by hundreds of Flint residents.


The lawsuit alleges that the state of Michigan ran Flint’s day-to-day operations through an emergency manager, who then attempted to partially balance the city’s budget through a what he felt was a wise cost-cutting measure: Switching Flint’s water source from Lake Huron, which had been the source of water in the city for more than 50 years, to a local, heavily polluted river.

The state could have used federal bankruptcy protections for Flint, rather than appoint an emergency manager who was charged with balancing the budget, according to John Clark, an attorney with the law firm Bern Ripka, but state officials decided not to for purely political reasons:

‘Bankruptcy seems like a cop-out, and it seems like government is failing. Balancing the budget seems like the government’s gaining ground, functioning properly.’
Further, the lawsuit alleges that those charged with overseeing the welfare of Flint:

‘Misrepresented the suitability of the toxic Flint River water to Flint’s residents for approximately a two-year period, and billed Flint’s residents at rates that were the highest in the nation for toxic water that was unsuitable for use.’
Attorneys who represent Flint residents said the lawsuit may eventually be classified as a class-action so that more people can seek redress. And they added that they do not take filing such a suit the least bit lightly. Attorney Mark Bern noted:

‘We could’ve filed a lawsuit weeks, and even months ago. But we wanted to make sure that we were going to get every single person compensated. That we were going to get everybody what they deserve.

‘The damages here can go on not only for a year or two, but for generations. The tenor of this entire area has been changed forever as a result of this scheme, and that’s why we worked hard to uncover the scheme.’
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages for future medical costs, legal fees, and damages for property damages, loss of business, and financial loss.

For more on the Flint water crisis, watch this report from Vox:
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby Pele'sDaughter » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:54 pm

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.s ... news_flint

FLINT, MI – EPA officials issued a letter saying they are worried about Flint's neglect to stock enough chlorine tablets to treat the city's water.

In a letter stamped July 19, EPA officials said the City of Flint ran out of chlorine tablets which help treat water for various bacteria.

"We were very concerned to learn that on Friday. July 16 the City ran out of chlorine tablets for the pellet chlorinators, resulting in an additional chlorination being available at either of Flint's reservoirs," said the letter. It went on to say that after EPA officials contacted Flint, City officials did "take steps to increase chlorine addition at the plant and to obtain chlorine pellets on an emergency basis."

City of Flint Interim Utilities Director, JoLisa McDay said, "the facility always maintained supplies of chlorine on site to be administered to drinking water as needed."

A statement issued by Flint Spokeswoman, Kristin Moore, also said the city had other things in place outside of chlorine tablets if needed.

"While there may not have been chlorine tablets on hand..there was always bleach on hand in liquid form that could be administered if needed," said Moore. "Therefore, there was no danger present to public health..There was no lapse in operation for the chlorine system at the (water treatment plant.)"

Moore said the water plant was transitioning from calcium hypochlorite pellets to sodium hypochlorite which is used in larger cities similar to Flint and is "more efficient" than the calcium hypochlorite tablets.

In June, EPA had directed the city to add the new equipment to boost the level of chlorine in the city's water warning that the situation was "urgent" with the summer weather.

Chlorine is a disinfectant used to protect water systems from bacteria, including Legionella, which can lead to Legionnaires' disease and a flu-like illness called Pontiac fever.

Officials have been investigating a possible link between an outbreak of Legionnaire's Disease and a catastrophic switch of the city's water supply to the Flint River. The water was switched back to a Detroit feed after it was discovered that river water had corroded pipes and caused high lead levels in homes around the city.

Since the lead crisis, the EPA has been closely monitoring the city's water operations.

"While the City is moving toward an appropriate change in chlorination systems as the reservoirs, the City cannot lose capacity to add chlorine at the reservoirs before the new chlorine feed systems become operational," the letter said. "The lapse in ability to add chlorine at the reservoirs, and the fact that no action to secure pellets appear to have been taken until EPA elevated the issue and MDEQ intervened, demonstrate a continuing need for the City to take stronger action to effectively manage the drinking water system."

The letter was sent to Weaver and MDEQ officials.
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:24 am

6 state employees criminally charged in Flint water crisis
Robert Allen, Detroit Free Press 10:03 a.m. EDT July 29, 2016

FLINT — Six state employees were criminally charged this morning in district court in connection with the Flint water crisis.

Charged are Michigan Department of Health and Human Services workers Nancy Peeler, Corinne Miller and Robert Scott, and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Leanne Smith; Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook, according to testimony this morning in Flint’s district court.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Todd Flood, the Royal Oak attorney heading the AG's investigation, have called an 11:30 a.m. news conference at U-M Flint to further discuss today's criminal charges.

In April, Schuette announced felony charges against two Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials and one City of Flint official. At that time, he promised more criminal charges would be forthcoming.

The city employee, Mike Glasgow, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor and is cooperating with the investigation as other charges were dropped. The two DEQ employees, Stephen Busch and Mike Prysby, are awaiting preliminary examinations.

He later brought a civil lawsuit against engineering and consulting firms who had consulted on the Flint Water Treatment Plant.

The civil lawsuit, filed in Flint in Genesee County Circuit Court, accuses engineering firm Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam and environmental consultant Veolia North America, plus related companies, of causing "the Flint Water Crisis to occur, continue and worsen." Both companies have denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight the lawsuit.

Related:Flint water probe costs triple, may reach $5M
Flint's drinking water became contaminated in lead in April 2014 after the city, while under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager, switched from treated water supplied from Detroit to raw water from the Flint River, which was treated at the Flint Water Treatment Plant.

DEQ officials have acknowledged a mistake in failing to require corrosion control chemicals to be added to the water. As a result, lead leached from pipes, joints and fixtures into Flint households and harmful lead levels spiked in Flint children.




Schuette charges 6 state workers over Flint’s water
Chad Livengood, Detroit News Lansing Bureau 9:24 a.m. EDT July 29, 2016

Flint — Attorney General Bill Schuette on Friday filed charges against six state employees with misconduct in office charges related to their alleged roles in Flint’s water being contaminated with toxic lead.

Genesee County Judge Nathaniel C. Perry III authorized charges Friday morning against three employees in the Department of Health and Human Services and three employees in the Department of Environmental Quality, including fired municipal water chief Liane Shekter Smith.

The DHHS employees charged were Nancy Peeler, Robert Scott and Corrine Miller. They all face charges of misconduct in office, conspiring to commit misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty related to allegedly concealing test results showing high levels of lead in the bloodstreams of Flint residents.

Peeler and Scott’s charges center around a report epidemiologist Cristin Larder prepared showing elevated blood lead testing in Flint residents last July, August and September, according Jeff Seipenko, an investigator in Schuette’s office.

“Scott and Peeler conspired together and with others known and unknown to effectively bury Larder’s report warranting further investigation,” Seipenko said Friday morning in court. “Defendants Peeler and Scott’s failure to disclose Larder’s report was to the detriment of the health and welfare of the citizens of Flint.”

Scott and Peeler work in the state health department’s childhood lead poisoning prevention program. The attorney general’s investigation found Scott and Peeler created a “non-scientific” graph illustrating lead levels in Flint children without applying a proper statistical analysis, Seipenko said.

“Peeler, relying on this unscientific graph, drafted and sent an unfounded email to MDHHS management that inappropriately concluded that the switch in water sources was not the cause of elevated lead levels in Flint children,” Seipenko told the judge.

Miller, director of the bureau of disease control and prevention at DHHS, allegedly ordered a DHHS employee to “take no action and disregard Larder’s findings,” Seipenko said.

Shekter Smith, the former chief of Michigan’s Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance, and current water regulators Patrick Cook and Adam Rosenthal were charged with various crimes related to their alleged misinterpretation of federal regulations for lead in water.

Rosenthal faces charges of misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence and or engage in misconduct, tampering with evidence and willful neglect of duty of a public official.

Cook was charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to engage in misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty for allegedly manipulating a Lead and Copper Rule report on the levels of lead in Flint’s water, Seipenko said.

Seipenko said Cook “misled” the Environmental Protection Agency “by sending a knowingly false interpretation” of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

Shekter Smith is the only state employee who has been fired for her role in Flint’s water crisis. She faces charges of misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty.

Last month, Shekter Smith asserted through counsel her Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination during a court hearing in Detroit after Schuette’s office issued her an investigative subpoena.

Schuette is planning to detail the charges at an 11:30 a.m. Friday press conference at the University of Michigan-Flint.

In April, Schuette filed criminal charges against DEQ water regulators Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby and Flint water utility administrator Michael Glasgow for their roles in not requiring Flint’s water to be treated with corrosion-controlling chemicals to prevent lead contamination.

Glasgow struck a plea deal with Schuette’s office in May, pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of duty after agreeing to cooperate with state and federal investigators.

Sixty-seventh District Judge Jennifer Manley took the plea under advisement but has delayed her decision on whether to accept it.

In June, Schuette filed a lawsuit against engineering firms Veolia North America and Lockwood Andrews & Newnam (LAN), claiming the companies “botched” treatment of corrosive Flint River water blamed for causing lead to leach from old pipes throughout the city.

The attorney general launched the Flint probe in January after it was discovered state regulators failed to require that the city add corrosion control chemicals when it began using Flint River water in April 2014 while awaiting construction of a new regional pipeline from Lake Huron.

Experts say that decision proved catastrophic.

The harsh river water ended up leaching lead from aging pipes, contaminating the drinking water supply. The water is still not considered safe to drink.
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby Luther Blissett » Mon Aug 01, 2016 11:37 am

As of today, Flint has no waste pickup, suspended indefinitely. Water is still poisoned, no curbside pickup, rotting trash, impending wild animal uprisings. Should we be considering what to do to find sanctuary in our locales for refugees international and domestic as more water and natural resources become poisoned as they have in West Virginia, New York, and Flint, as sea levels rise and Florida and New York succumb to the sea? Take to the foothills like the Dark Mountain Project?

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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby backtoiam » Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:44 pm

After court threat, state of Michigan removed Flint's power to sue
Detroit Free Press 9:32 a.m. EDT September 19, 2016

LANSING — Days after Flint Mayor Karen Weaver served notice that her city might file a lawsuit against the State of Michigan over the Flint drinking water crisis, the state removed Flint's ability to sue.

Though Flint has not been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, the state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The board moved quickly to change the rules under which Flint is governed so that the city cannot file a lawsuit without first getting approval from that state-appointed board.

In other words, Flint cannot sue the state without getting the state to sign off on it first.

► Related: U.S. Senate passes bill with $100 million for Flint

The controversy began March 24, when Flint filed a notice of intent to sue the State of Michigan in the Court of Claims. At the time, Weaver and other city officials said they had no plans to sue the state but had to take the action to reserve the city's rights, should city leaders later determine a need to sue the state over the lead contamination of Flint's drinking water. Under state court rules, the city had 180 days from the time it became aware of a potential claim to file the notice or it would lose the right to sue in the future, city officials said, and March 24 was the 180th day.

State officials, who at the time were considering $165 million in state aid requests for Flint over the water crisis, on top of about $67 million already approved, were furious about the notice.

House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, said "a reckless lawsuit could throw the state budget into disarray and undermine everything we’ve done for the city."

Cotter and Snyder, through a spokesman, called on Flint to withdraw the notice.

That never happened, but the state quickly and quietly defused any imminent legal threat, using the Receivership Transition Advisory Board that continues to oversee many aspects of Flint city government while the city emerges from emergency management.

► Related: No end in sight for Flint; filter use expected to last rest of year

The board ensures "a smooth transition" to Flint self-government by reviewing "major financial and policy decisions ... to ensure that they maintain fiscal and organizational stability," according to information on the city website.

Anna Heaton, a spokeswoman for Snyder, said the main purpose of the March 31 change was to more fully involve the mayor, the City Council and other top city officials, not just the city administrator, in decisions about initiating and settling litigation.

However, "the (advisory board) resolution also clarified that its approval was required before the settlement or initiation of litigation," Heaton said in an e-mail to the Free Press on Friday.

In a statement issued Sunday, Weaver said she was "disappointed to learn of the timing" of the board's action "and the overall implications."

Weaver said she hopes that barring Flint from suing without state approval "is a sign of their intent to ensure the City of Flint is indemnified for any and all debts and obligations imposed upon the city while under state control," and "I will continue to do everything within my power to safeguard the city."

► Related: State official pleads to misdemeanor charge in Flint water probe

Stacy Erwin Oakes, Flint's chief legal officer, said "the city cannot know" what motivated the change, but "the timing of the amendment speaks for itself."

"Previously, the city administrator had discretionary authority regarding litigation, now the city, including but not limited to the chief legal officer, can’t initiate litigation and assert its rights in court without state approval, through the (advisory board)," Oakes said in an e-mail Friday.

"Whether the ... resolution stripping the city’s authority would survive a direct legal challenge is a question for another day. In the meantime, the city continues to be significantly under state control, even after the departure of the emergency manager, and while accumulating significant obligations as a result of decisions made by, and/or at the direction of emergency managers."

She said Flint has made "a request to the state for assistance with these obligations."

► Related: DEQ spokesman who urged Flint to 'relax' lands new job

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4.



Detroit Free Press
http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/m ... /90467828/
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby MinM » Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:34 am

backtoiam » Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:44 pm wrote:
After court threat, state of Michigan removed Flint's power to sue
Detroit Free Press 9:32 a.m. EDT September 19, 2016

LANSING — Days after Flint Mayor Karen Weaver served notice that her city might file a lawsuit against the State of Michigan over the Flint drinking water crisis, the state removed Flint's ability to sue.

Though Flint has not been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, the state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The board moved quickly to change the rules under which Flint is governed so that the city cannot file a lawsuit without first getting approval from that state-appointed board.

In other words, Flint cannot sue the state without getting the state to sign off on it first...


The only chance that anything really happens in this case, given that the GOP controls every level of government in Michigan, will be through civil suits...
Crain's Detroit Biz ‏@crainsdetroit

Flint resident seeks grand jury investigation of Snyder
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Lawsuit: Taxpayers shouldn't be funding Snyder's legal fees over Flint
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Flint resident requests grand jury investigation of Snyder for using taxpayer funds for legal fees
http://bit.ly/2dLNXay #FlintWaterCrisis
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Detroit Free Press ‏@freep Oct 9

#Michigan paid more than FEMA for #Flint emergency supplies
http://on.freep.com/2dBZ8CA #Flintwatercrisis
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The Detroit News ‏@detroitnews

State litigation spending balloons on Flint crisis http://detne.ws/2dbWihd
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:41 pm

^^^^^^THANKS


Grand jury investigation sought over Snyder legal fees for Flint
Paul Egan , Detroit Free Press 5:46 p.m. EDT October 12, 2016


Flint resident describes struggles dealing with Flint water crisis

Flint resident describes struggles dealing with Flint water crisis | 1:23
Flint resident Angie Thornton–George discusses the impacts on Flint residents lives dealing with the ongoing Flint water crisis. Ryan Garza Detroit Free Press


Water Wary Flint Residents Face Bacterial Outbreak
by SAFIA SAMEE ALI

Flint residents and the surrounding counties are facing an uptick in a bacterial illness frequently associated with poor hand washing hygiene.

Genesee County, where Flint is the largest city, has seen a significant increase in shigellosis, a highly communicable illness that "can be stopped by frequent and careful hand washing with soap and taking other hygiene measures," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Image: A nurse draws a blood sample from a child in Flint
Registered Nurse Brian Jones draws a blood sample from Grayling Stefek, 5, at the Eisenhower Elementary School, on Jan. 26, 2016 in Flint, Mich. The students were being tested for lead after the metal was found in the city's drinking water. Carlos Osorio / AP
"It is not a pleasant illness," said Suzanne Cupal, Public Health Division Director with the Genesee County Health Department. "You lose weight, get dehydrated, vomit, and have bloody diarrhea."

Read More: Six More Officials Charged in Flint Water Crisis for Alleged Cover-Up

Genesee county had 76 confirmed of shigellosis since October of last year, she said. The average is about 20 per year. Neighboring Saginaw County has also seen a sharp rise in the infectious disease, she said.

"Most of what we're seeing is one person in a family contracts it and spreads it to the rest of household," she said. Proper hand-washing and water hygiene is an easy way to prevent the illness from spreading.

PlayLead crisis forces hundreds to leave their homes Facebook Twitter Google PlusEmbed
Lead crisis forces hundreds to leave their homes 5:42
But many residents in the county still hold strong aversions to using tap water.

The sentiment resonates as collateral damage from the city's lead contamination crisis. Countless Flint residents suffered rashes, hair loss, and other health problems associated with using the city's water—which contained dangerously elevated levels of lead.

The county also experienced an inordinate hike in legionnaires disease, which is still being investigated in connection with the water crisis. From May 2015 through November 2015, there were 42 cases of legionnaires. Three cases ended in death.

This year, 11 cases have been reported within Genesee County. The disease is spread by breathing in contaminated mists of water.

"I still don't want to use the water," said Chia Morgan, a resident of Flint. "I feel all the pipes need to be changed, and they are in the process of doing that, but I still don't want to use the water."

Other residents also identify with those types of concerns.

"In my opinion there's still a lot of hesitation to use the water in the community," said David McGhee, another Flint resident.

Even though the Environmental Protection Agency has deemed the water safe to use, we have seen information that people have altered their behavior with water, said Matt Karwowski, medical epidemiologist in CDC's Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch.

According to a study conducted by several agencies including the Genesee County Health Department and the CDC, 80 percent of individuals surveyed in the county changed their bathing habits. 75 percent reported showering less.


Nakeyja Cade bathes her three children in boiled bottled water after her one-year-old daughter Zariyah Cade had a blood test scoring high in lead content in Flint,on March 1, 2016. The Washington Post/Getty Images
"We try to use hand sanitizer and wipes a lot," said Toni Shaw, a mother living in Flint. "We only use the water for short showers and the laundry," she said.

While alcohol-based hand sanitizer does kill Shigella bacteria, it does not kill all germs, said Karwowski. "Soap and water is the best way to prevent spread of Shigella."

Hand sanitizer can't take the permanent place of water, he said.

Read More: Feds Say Filtered Flint Drinking Water Is Safe to Drink

Shigellosis works through itself and lasts about five days, he said. In rare cases, when people have underlying existing conditions, the illness can require more serious medical care.

There are about 500,000 cases of Shigella every year, he said.

While it should be noted that the outbreak has expanded to residents outside of Flint's city limits, the majority of cases are still reported within Genesee County.

That's why the county is now launching a mass "hand-washing campaign" in conjunction with the CDC and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that will kick-off this month, Cupel said.

Water Emergency Declared in Flint
Keeghan Nelson, 4, of Flint, Mich., gets his blood lead levels tested at Carriage Town Ministries in Flint, Mich., on Feb. 4, 2016. Brittany Greeson / The Washington Post via Getty Images
Everyone needs to know that it's safe to wash your hand in filtered water and make sure you're doing it thoroughly, she said.

"The campaign is for every resident, not just those in Flint," she said. "That community has been through a lot and we're not going to pick on them. We're just trying to keep everyone safe."

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/flint- ... ak-n660621
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:01 pm

Class-Action Lawsuit Seeks Sweeping Help for Flint Students
By ED WHITE, ASSOCIATED PRESS DETROIT — Oct 18, 2016, 4:16 PM ET

Several families filed a class-action lawsuit Tuesday against the state of Michigan and the Flint school district, saying more needs to be done to help students whose academic performance and behavior have worsened because of the city's lead-tainted water.

The school system was already struggling before Flint's water supply was contaminated by lead over an 18-month period. The city switched to a new water source, the Flint River, in 2014, but the corrosive water wasn't properly treated, causing lead from old pipes and fixtures to flow through taps.

The 15 families say the state Education Department, the Flint district and a countywide district already are not complying with laws intended to help disabled students, and that the lead crisis is only compounding the problem.

"The extensive lead poisoning in Flint has combined with the lack of essential special education resources in the Flint schools to create a tragic crisis," attorney Gregory Little said.

There is no dispute that lead affects the brain and nervous system, especially in children. No safe lead level in kids has been identified by experts.

There are approximately 30,000 Flint residents who are 19 or younger, including roughly 5,400 who attend public schools, according to the lawsuit.

The lead exposure "put all children in Flint at risk of a disability," the lawsuit states. It quotes a 7-year-old boy who was exposed to lead as saying, "I don't know how to read."

"All they do is send him home, with no services and no support," his mother, Nakiya Wakes, said in a written statement.

The lawsuit seeks a long list of changes, including enhanced screening of children at age 3 to determine if they're eligible for special education; preschool for all children; a review of all individual education plans for students with disabilities; staff training; a special monitor to oversee changes over seven years.

The state declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union and firms with expertise in education law.

Flint school Superintendent Bilal Tawwab said the lawsuit was being reviewed, but he added that additional services have been offered to families and students.

The city of Flint returned to a Detroit-area water agency in 2015 while it awaits a new pipeline to Lake Huron, but residents still are urged to drink only bottled water or filtered tap water while the system heals.
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/clas ... s-42883223
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby parel » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:55 pm

Not sure if this is related yet, as the article claims that Flint victims had lead levels so low that they didn't need chelation. Putting it here for reference.

MDs Say US Costs For Valeant's Lead Poisoning Drug Are 33,000% More Than Canada's


Emily Willingham , CONTRIBUTOR
October 13th 2016

Using the playbook of Mylan, Turing and, well, their own company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals has hiked the price of yet another life-saving treatment to astronomical values. This time, it’s calcium EDTA, a lead poisoning treatment that cost US hospitals and poison control centers about $500 for a packet of six ampules (6 grams) before 2012, when Valeant acquired the drug. Poison control experts now say that US centers pay about $5000 per gram for the drug, compared to $15 per gram for Canadians purchasing from a French company, a 33,300% difference. In a 6-year period, these experts also say, Valeant increased the US price of the drug by as much as 7200%.

Naturally, that increase has upset those who treat patients for acute lead poisoning. Indeed, back in January 2016, two physicians–Michael Kosnett from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Timur Durrani at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)–expressed their concerns about these price hikes in a letter to U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md), the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. This committee recently heard from Mylan CEO Heather Bresch about her company’s EpiPen price hikes (and then heard from the company again because of misreported profit).

The two doctors also forwarded their letter in April to the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging because Valeant’s CEO was scheduled to testify about … steep drug prices.

The physicians said that they had a “public health concern … regarding the recent massive increase in the price of a generic drug, CaEDTA.” In their letter, they say that the price increase on the drug was as much as 7150% (which may be an undercalculation) compared to its 2008 wholesale unit price from Graceway Pharmaceuticals. Graceway was auctioned after bankruptcy to Medicis Pharmaceutical in 2011, which Valeant in turn acquired in 2012. After a lull in manufacturing, Valeant began its calcium EDTA sales again.

According to Kosnett and Durrani, the average price per milliliter for the drug went from $18.57 in 2008 to $1346.37 in 2014, or a 7250% increase. U.S. hospitals have no other source for calcium EDTA.

Kosnett and Durrani also point out what many a lab scientist already knows: This and other formulations of EDTA can be purchased at almost comically low prices for laboratory use. The two doctors cite a Sigma-Aldrich catalogue cost of $0.33 per gram.

As with Mylan and the EpiPen, Valeant’s increases on the chelation agent came fast and furious. In 2014 alone, Kosnett and Durrani assert, the wholesale unit price of the drug was $355.81 in January but priced at $1346.37 by December. They cite costs paid by UCSF’s pharmacy, which was shelling out $4995.02 for a single ampule (containing 1 gram) by the end of 2015, up from $3,044.78 in February of the same year, for an almost $2000 per-ampule (and per gram) price increase in less than 12 months.

Meanwhile, their colleagues in Canada can buy the same amount of drug from SERB Laboratories, a French company, for about $15, or 332 times less than Valeant’s cost to US facilities. In Canada, the amount of drug needed to treat a child with lead poisoning thus costs about $15 a day, the doctors write. Based on their numbers, in the US, that one-day total for one child is about $5,000.

Most of those who develop acute lead poisoning are children who live in older homes where lead paint (now banned) may still linger. The children chew on the paint chips or get the dust on their hands and present with acute poisoning, which requires immediate treatment. The effects of lead poisoning are lasting and profound.

The treatment is chelation, using a chemical agent that grabs the lead ions and escorts them out of the body in the urine. A few chelation agents are currently approved in the US for heavy metal poisoning, but two have the best evidence base for lead poisoning in children: calcium EDTA and dimercaprol. Depending on whether or not the patient shows signs of lead’s effects on the brain, one or both will be used by injection.

Injectable calcium EDTA has been called the “standard of care” for lead poisoning, although an oral chelator, succimer, can also be used if the patient can swallow it–it apparently smells and tastes terrible. Otherwise, succimer must be administered by nasogastric tube, which carries its own difficulties. Calcium EDTA is on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines, which lists medications that are most critical for a healthcare system to have on hand.

Yet Kosnett and Durrani say in their letter that they became aware of the problem when Children’s Hospital in Oakland told the California Poison Control System that the hospital couldn’t afford the 2015 wholesale price of $25,000 quoted for 5 ampules. The doctors write that that single box is about the amount that would be needed to effectively treat one child with a 5-day chelation course. In Canada, that treatment cost would be about $75, based on their estimates.

The reason calcium EDTA warrants a high cost is unclear. It also is a food preservative, found in everything from pickled cabbage to pinto beans. A Valeant spokesman told Stat’s Ed Silverman that the price increases were related to a low purchase volume and high cost of maintaining an appropriate inventory of the drug. The cost to buy supplies, the spokesman said, can be many times that gained from annual sales, and the drug has a “relatively limited” shelf life, so they can’t keep it forever.

It’s true that cases of acute lead poisoning are relatively rare–a few dozen to 100 annually in the United States. But they are critical events that only chelation can treat and among the only conditions for which chelation is a treatment. That hasn’t stopped a cottage industry from springing up, offering chelation for everything from ALS to multiple sclerosis to autism.

Acute lead poisoning is an emergency, as opposed to more chronic, low-level lead exposure, and chelation is not recommended unless lead levels are especially high–in other words, acute cases of poisoning. These critical levels are above 45 micrograms per deciliter of blood. For comparison, the highest readings found in children in Flint, MI, now a notorious hotspot of lead poisoning resulting from alleged bureaucratic malfeasance, may have been up to 10 micrograms per deciliter. Those values, according to California’s management guidelines, are far lower than lead levels that would trigger a need for chelation.
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:06 pm

Judge Doubles Down on Order Requiring Michigan Officials to Deliver Clean Water in Flint
Monday, 05 December 2016 00:00
By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report


A federal judge told state officials in Michigan on Friday that they must comply with an order to deliver bottled water to residences in Flint, Michigan, even as the officials challenged the delivery order in an appeals court. The ruling is the latest in a dispute between state officials, including Treasurer Nick Khouri, and advocacy groups over how to provide clean water to Flint residents as the city works to replace corroding pipes.

Flint has struggled with a public health crisis since 2014, when its water supply became contaminated with lead after the city began sourcing from the polluted Flint River on orders from emergency managers appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder's office. Residents of the low-income, majority-Black city were exposed to dangerous levels of lead and other contaminants for months on end as state regulators and health officials pointed fingers and downplayed concerns.

In response to a lawsuit filed by local activists and national advocates, US District Court Judge David Lawson in Detroit ruled last month that distribution centers set up by state officials to hand out bottled water and tap filters were not doing enough for residents. He ordered officials to deliver bottled water directly to homes or verify that residents have a working tap filter. Residents can opt out of delivery.

On November 17, Khouri and members of the Flint Receivership Transition Advisory Board asked Lawson to put a stay on the delivery order while they appeal to a higher court, arguing that they were already doing enough to provide clean water to residents, and home delivery is "unreasonable" and too expensive.

Lawson rejected the defendants' motion to suspend the order, and state officials are reportedly working on a plan to comply as they prepare to challenge the order in an appeals court, according to reports.

"Flint residents continue to suffer irreparable harm from a lack of reliable access to safe drinking water," Lawson wrote in his most recent ruling. "This is more than a mere inconvenience; hunting for water has become a dominant activity in some residents' lives, causing anxiety, stress and financial hardship."

Dimple Chaudhary, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said Lawson's ruling affirmed that the people of Flint have a right to safe drinking water, just like everyone else.

"The court correctly recognized that the government created this crisis, and it's the government's responsibility to ensure that all people in Flint have access to safe drinking water," Chaudhary said.

Some good news for the troubled city: Last week researchers said water in 57 percent of the homes they tested did not have a detectable level of lead, but they urged residents to continue using water filters until the city's pipes are replaced.

Water pipes in Flint began to corrode and release lead because water from the Flint River was never treated with anti-corrosion chemicals. Despite their promising findings, the researchers said residents should continue using tap filters until old lead pipes are replaced with news ones. Federal aid for the project has been delayed by disputes over appropriations in Congress.

Anna Heaton, a spokeswoman for Gov. Snyder's office, said in a statement that filtered water is now safe to use and warned against "reverting to bottled water" because it would drain financial resources needed to fix the pipes. Heaton said state officials are working on a plan to comply with Lawson's delivery order but still face challenges with logistics and funding.

"The state continues to deliver bottled water and filters by request, just as we have been, and the distribution centers around the city remain fully operational for the pickup of water and filters," Heaton said. "Additionally, the state and city are working together to increase the number of door-to-door teams in the city to check filter installation and maintenance."
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/3862 ... r-in-flint
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:35 am

How Donald Trump Is Connected to the Flint Water Crisis

Monday, 05 December 2016 10:59

By Ryan Schleeter, Greenpeace | News Analysis

Flint, Michigan still does not have clean drinking water.

Now, President-elect Donald Trump -- whose campaign stump speech included a crude joke about the city's water crisis -- has tapped one of the people responsible for the crisis to join his Cabinet.

Betsy DeVos, Trump's pick for Secretary of Education, and her family have a long history of using their wealth to manipulate Michigan state elections and push through "reforms" that undercut local democracy. She's a staunch advocate of privatization measures that shift power from people to corporations -- and one of those measures led directly to the poisoning of Flint's water and citizens.

Betsy DeVos and the Law That Poisoned Flint

In trying to get to the root of the crisis in Flint, many have pointed to Michigan's emergency manager law, which allows the governor to bypass the elected government and appoint a single official to take over a city's budgeting. The law was actually overturned by a popular referendum in 2012, but sneakily pushed back through state legislature by Governor Rick Snyder immediately afterwards in a way that prevented it from being subject to another public vote.

And when Michigan voters said they didn't want their local democracies hijacked, they had good reason. It was Flint's emergency financial manager Darnell Earley who all but forced the city to switch its water source to the polluted Flint River.

Earley both overruled a city council vote that would have prevented the switch and declined an offer from neighboring Detroit to provide safe, sanitized water. But if Earley is responsible for the disastrous decision itself, those who paved his way to power are also to blame -- and that's where Betsy DeVos comes in.

Since the 1970s, the DeVos family has invested at least $200 million in far-right think tanks, media outlets, PACs, and other causes, with a particular focus on their home state of Michigan. Along with the Koch brothers, they're major funders of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan-based partner of the Heritage Foundation and architect of the state's emergency manager law. Between 1998 and 2011, four DeVos-controlled foundations have given $560,000 to the Mackinac Center; that figure doesn't include donations from personal trusts or corporations, which do not have to be reported.

With the Mackinac Center working to craft the legislation that would advance the DeVos' privatization agenda, they needed a governor who would push it through to law. So in 2010, the family spent $1.9 million in the election that put Governor Snyder in power.

Months later, Snyder signed the emergency manager act into law and appointed a Mackinac executive as the state's first emergency manager. That manager's first move? Outsource the city of Pontiac's water system to a company indicted on federal conspiracy charges and Clean Water Act violations.

The writing was on the wall for Flint.

Betsy DeVos and the Trump Administration

The results of the type of pro-corporate, anti-democratic measures DeVos stands for are clear. We've seen what happens when politicians abuse their power to wrest democracy from the hands of the people -- and it's still unfolding in Flint.

With DeVos as Secretary of Education, we could see the same happen to public schools. DeVos has long maneuvered to strip funding and resources from public schools, favoring instead a voucher system that diverts public funding to private and religious schools. Among many other consequences, that could have grave implications for science and climate change education in schools across the country.

Furthermore, selecting DeVos -- a Koch-esque member of the billionaire GOP donor class -- runs directly counter to Trump's campaign promise to reform Washington by "draining the swamp" of establishment Republicans.

As far as Flint goes, Trump blamed the whole fiasco on "incompetent politicians" in a speech earlier this month. By his own measure, it looks like he just nominated one for his Cabinet.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/3861 ... ter-crisis
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:43 pm

Congressional inquiry faults Michigan officials and EPA for Flint water crisis


Congressional Republicans quietly closed a yearlong investigation into the crisis over lead in the Flint, Mich., drinking water supply, faulting both state officials and the Environmental Protection Agency for contamination that has affected nearly 100,000 residents.

In letters to fellow Republicans, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Friday that Michigan and federal officials were slow in detecting high levels of lead in the water and did not act fast enough once the problem was discovered.

The committee’s findings offer no new information and essentially summarize what emerged during several high-profile hearings earlier this year.

“The committee found significant problems at Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality and unacceptable delays in the Environmental Protection Agency's response to the crisis,” wrote Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). “The committee also found that the federal regulatory framework is so outdated that it sets up states to fail.”

Flint's drinking water became tainted when the city switched from the Detroit water system and began drawing from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money. The impoverished city was under state control at the time.

Regulators failed to ensure the water was treated properly, and lead from aging pipes leached into the water supply.

After nearly a year of haggling, Congress approved legislation last week to provide $170 million to deal with the Flint crisis and help other communities with lead-tainted water.

In his letters to fellow GOP lawmakers, Chaffetz cited “a series of failures at all levels of government” that “caused and then exacerbated the water crisis.”

While the Republican chairman signaled the apparent conclusion of the inquiry — Congress ended its two-year session last week — the panel's senior Democrat insisted the investigation should continue and accused Michigan's Republican governor of stonewalling the committee over documents related to the crisis.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, senior Democrat on the oversight panel, said he wants Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to produce key Flint-related documents within 30 days. Cummings said Snyder and his administration have obstructed the committee's investigation into the Flint crisis for a year, refusing to provide — or even search for — key documents.

Snyder's intransigence has thwarted committee efforts to answer critical questions about what he knew as the crisis unfolded and why he didn't act sooner to fix it, Cummings said.
http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow ... story.html
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:13 am

House Republicans shut down investigation into Flint water crisis, blame EPA instead
After three hearings about how thousands of residents had their water contaminated, the GOP is satisfied
http://www.salon.com/2016/12/19/house-r ... a-instead/


End of federal Flint water investigation brings more questions than answers
http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.s ... vesti.html


Michigan AG Bill Schuette: More charges Tuesday in Flint water case
Paul Egan , Detroit Free Press 6:52 p.m. EST December 19, 2016
LANSING -- More criminal charges will be announced Tuesday in the ongoing Flint drinking water investigation, according to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's office

Schuette has called a 10:30 a.m. news conference at the Riverfront Banquet Center in Flint, at which the total number of people criminally charged in the investigation will reach double digits.

No details were released Monday on who would be charged. Schuette has repeatedly said his criminal investigation will go wherever the evidence leads.

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office are also conducting an investigation into the lead contamination of Flint's drinking water supply, which caused a spike in the blood levels of Flint children.

Schuette's office said he will be joined at the event by special counsel Todd Flood, a Royal Oak attorney who is leading the Flint investigation, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, and other members of the investigative team.

So far, Schuette has brought charges against eight current or former State of Michigan employees and one City of Flint employee.

►Related: State, EPA share blame for Flint, panel says

Schuette, a Republican who is expected to run for governor in 2018, has also brought civil charges against consulting firms who worked on the Flint Water Treatment Plant.

Flint's drinking water became contaminated with lead in April of 2014 after the city, while under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager, switched from treated water supplied from Detroit to raw water from the Flint River, which was treated at the Flint Water Treatment Plant.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials have acknowledged a mistake in failing to require corrosion control chemicals to be added to the water. As a result, lead leached from pipes, joints and fixtures into Flint households.

Officials are also investigating possible links between the water switch and outbreaks of deadly Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area.

Though lead levels in the water have come down significantly since the state acknowledged the contamination around Oct. 1, 2015, residents are still advised not to drink tap water without a filter. Many still rely on bottled water, which can be picked up free at distribution centers in Flint.

Five of the current or former state employees charged are from the DEQ. Three are from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Corinne Miller, the former director of the Bureau of Disease Control, Prevention and Epidemiology at DHHS, pleaded no contest to in September to willful neglect of duty by a public officer. At that time, two felonies were dismissed, including misconduct in office. As part of the agreement, Miller, who retired from the department in 2016, must cooperate with the investigation and offer truthful testimony.

In May, Michael Glasgow, the City of Flint's laboratory and water quality supervisor, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of willful neglect of duty with the understanding a felony charge against him, tampering with evidence, would be dismissed. He also pledged to cooperated with the investigation.
http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/m ... /95624818/
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:43 pm

Four more charged in Flint water crisis
BY TIMOTHY CAMA - 12/20/16 11:31 AM EST 70

Michigan’s attorney general on Tuesday charged four officials with criminal accusations stemming from the Flint drinking water crisis.

Among the people charged by Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) are the highest-ranking individuals implicated yet in the investigation into the lead contamination in the city of 100,000. They could face up to 25 years in prison.

Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose were both emergency managers of Flint, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to oversee the city while it is under state receivership.

The charges announced Tuesday get criminal investigators a significant step closer to Snyder, who has maintained that he believed state bureaucrats when they told him Flint’s water was safe up until September 2015.

Snyder has not been charged, though Schuette declined again Tuesday to rule out any potential suspects.
Schuette said at a news conference that both Earley and Ambrose were instrumental in securing $85 million to connect the city to a new water source. But the financing contract required the city to temporarily use Flint’s mothballed water treatment plant, which Earley and Ambrose knew was not equipped to treat water straight from the Flint River, Schuette alleged.

That led to improper treatment after the April 2014 switch, which caused the water to corrode lead pipes. The city’s water is cleaner now since switching back to Detroit’s water, but residents cannot drink it without filtering first.

Earley was emergency manager from November 2013 to January 2015, and Ambrose served from January to April 2015. Both are accused of making false pretenses, conspiring to make false pretenses, misconduct of office and neglect of duty.

“The tragedy we know as the Flint water crisis did not occur by accident,” Schuette said at the news conference. “Flint was a tragedy of arrogance, disdain and a failure of management. An absence of accountability, shirking responsibility. We will proceed to deliver justice and hold those accountable who broke the law, period.”

Daugherty Johnson and Howard Croft, both Flint city employees, were also charged Tuesday. They are accused of false pretenses and conspiracy, also related to the $85 million financing deal, and face up to 20 years in prison.

With the latest charges, 13 people have been formally accused criminally in connection with the Flint crisis. Some have pleaded guilty and some are fighting their charges in court.

People working on the investigation said that the contract at issue with the latest charges shows that Flint residents were tricked with the planned water switch.

“This case, as we charged it right here, is a classic bait-and-switch. It’s a bait-and-switch where the citizens of Flint got the shaft, that’s the simple truth,” said Todd Flood, the special prosecutor in charge of the Flint cases.

Andy Arena, the chief investigator Schuette assigned to the cases, expressed surprise that officials made the water switch.

“So many people knew that plant was not ready, and so many people said ‘don’t do this,’ and yet, it was done. And I think that’s the thing that shocked me,” he said.

Earley testified at a March congressional hearing on the crisis that he had no reason to believe that lead contamination was a risk in switching Flint’s water, based on what federal and state environmental regulators told him.

“I believe, based on the information we were given, we acted responsibly, and did what we did knowing the information we had at the time,” Earley told lawmakers.

In response to the charges, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, renewed his call for the panel’s Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to subpoena Snyder.

Chaffetz closed the committee’s investigation last week despite Snyder not supplying all of the information that the panel sought for its probe.

“Gov. Snyder appointed the two emergency managers charged today, and it is beyond irresponsible for the committee to close its investigation without demanding full accountability and transparency from him. The families of Flint deserve no less,” Cummings wrote in an open letter to Chaffetz.
http://thehill.com/policy/energy-enviro ... ter-crisis
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Re: Flint Water Crisis Timeline

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:18 am

Published on
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
byCommon Dreams
Flint Residents Barred From Closed-Door Water Quality Meeting
Advocates and residents are concerned that officials are rushing to declare the city's water supply safe
byLauren McCauley, staff writer

"My eyes are still burning. I can't breathe when I get out of the shower...we're still melting here," Flint resident Tony Palladeno said. (Photo: Flint Rising/ Facebook)
"My eyes are still burning. I can't breathe when I get out of the shower...we're still melting here," Flint resident Tony Palladeno said. (Photo: Flint Rising/ Facebook)
Residents of Flint, Michigan who traveled to Chicago were barred from attending a private meeting Tuesday between Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and other officials, who advocates say are rushing to declare the city's water supply safe.

Outrage over the closed-door meeting prompted protests in Flint and Chicago, where residents held signs outside the Water Quality Summit asking for their detailed water quality report.

Inside the summit, officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), as well as Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, who is credited with exposing the lead contamination crisis, met with Snyder to discuss current sample data, ignoring testimony from residents.

"My eyes are still burning. I can't breathe when I get out of the shower...we're still melting here," Flint resident Tony Palladeno said in a recording aired on The Young Turks (TYT). Many residents have reported similar symptoms, particularly in regards to the city's shower water, which TYT host Cenk Uygur notes was not tested.

Synder, a Republican, has claimed that the water quality is improving and said the summit will allow experts to review all of the available data. But advocates are warning that current tests are not sufficient to declare the city's water free of dangerous contamination, and residents feel it is their right to be privy to the discussion.

"Tests that show the water is OK in one place don't mean that it will be OK in another place or that it will be OK the next day if it's tested in the same place," Laura Sullivan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Flint's Kettering University, told the Detroit Free Press.

For instance, in the city's schools, there has been an inconsistent effort to replace water fixtures and install filters.

The Detroit News reported:

The ACLU, citing information it obtained in a class-action lawsuit it filed against the state on behalf of Flint students, says that while drinking fountain fixtures have been replaced, sinks in school bathrooms have not been tested for lead or equipped with filters even though students could drink water from them.

A central kitchen used to prepare food for students throughout the district did not have water filters installed as of mid-November, the organization claims, and the state has not confirmed whether it completed plans to install filters in Northwestern High School, which tested for dangerously high lead levels in October.

"The history of what has happened in Flint is of the state doing as little as possible, and that is exactly what we are seeing in the public schools," Kary Moss, executive director of ACLU of Michigan, told reporters Monday. "These children have been neglected."

Further, as ACLU attorney Michael J. Steinberg explained, "the federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires two, six-month rounds of testing before a determination can be made and even then, other factors must be considered."

"The mere fact that a couple of months of testing might bring the levels below 15 parts per billion does not mean the state is complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act," said Steinberg, who is litigating two lawsuits related to Flint's water. "Any suggestion by the state...that the water is safe is not only wrong, it's irresponsible."

On Wednesday evening, MDEQ is holding a town hall meeting in Flint. Watch the full TYT segment below:
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/0 ... ty-meeting
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