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Snyder declares emergency In Genesee County over Flint water

January 11, 2016

Article courtesy of MIRS News Service

Gov. Rick SNYDER Tuesday declared a state of emergency for Genesee County due to the “ongoing health and safety issues caused by lead in the city of Flint’s drinking water,” his office announced.

Snyder’s office had hinted a declaration was coming when the county’s board of commissioners voted to declare a state of emergency Monday. The city itself has been under a local emergency declaration since Dec. 14.

By declaring a state of emergency, Snyder has made available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery operations. The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to coordinate state efforts.

“The health and welfare of Flint residents is a top priority and we’re committed to a coordinated approach with resources from state agencies to address all aspects of this situation,” Snyder said. “Working in full partnership with the Flint Water Advisory Task Force, all levels of government and water quality experts, we will find both short-term and long-term solutions to ensure the health and safety of Flint residents.”

Senate Minority Leader Jim ANANICH (D-Flint) chimed in on Snyder’s announcement, saying, “Leadership is ownership, and my hope is that today the administration will truly take responsibility for the disaster they created. It is beyond frustrating that the city I love, and the people who live in it, had to declare it destroyed before the state would act with any urgency.”

U.S. Rep. Dan KILDEE (D-Flint Twp.) also released a statement that said, “Governor Snyder declaring an emergency will hopefully mean additional state resources to help the city and Flint residents recover from this terrible crisis.”

In addition to the emergency declaration, Snyder said he activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate state response and recovery activities.

The city switched over to using Flint River water from Detroit water in April 2014. Residents complained about the appearance and taste of the water almost from the onset, but the issue didn’t receive broad attention until published studies this fall linked the switch to elevated blood lead levels in Flint children.

Since then, the city has switched back to Detroit water with state support, and numerous investigations have been launched into what went wrong on the local, state and federal levels, including the latest investigation revealed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit. 

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