Water Crisis in Flint, MI Escalates

Water_Flint MI

FBI joins criminal investigation probe.

WASHINGTON | REUTERS |BY DAVID SHEPARDSON:   The FBI is joining a criminal investigation into lead contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, exploring whether any laws were broken in a crisis that has captured international attention.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman said the agency was determining if federal laws were broken, but declined further comment. Also on Tuesday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was meeting with officials and community leaders in Flint.

The city, about 60 miles (100 km) northwest of Detroit, was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager when it switched the source of its tap water from Detroit’s system to the Flint River in April 2014.

Flint switched back last October after tests found high levels of lead in blood samples taken from children. The more corrosive water from the river leached more lead from the city pipes than Detroit water did. Lead is a toxic agent that can damage the tissues of the nervous system.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who extended a state of emergency in Flint until April 14, has repeatedly apologized for the state’s poor handling of the matter.

“It’s important to look at missteps at all three levels of government – local, state and federal – so such a crisis doesn’t occur again,” said Dave Murray, a spokesman for Snyder.

In Washington, Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, Democrats from Michigan, pushed for $600 million in aid, mostly in federal funds, to help Flint replace pipes and provide health care.   Senator John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican, said any aid to Flint must not add to U.S. budget deficits for “what is a local and state problem.”

Read full story here:   http://www.reuters.com/article/us-michigan-flint-fbi-idUSKCN0VB1DB




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