Changes to take place at DEQ, meeting planned with Mayor Karen Weaver
In response to initial findings from the Flint Water Task Force, Gov. Rick Snyder issued the following statement:
“When I became aware that the city of Flint’s water showed elevated lead levels and that the state’s handling of the situation was being questioned, I requested funding to switch the source back to the Great Lakes Water Authority and appointed an independent task force to identify possible missteps and areas for improvement.
“The task force has done an exceptional job, reviewing stacks of documents and interviewing scores of Flint, Genesee County, state and federal officials. Although the task force’s final report is not yet completed, members have made me aware of some interim findings and corrective steps that I have decided to take immediately in order to restore trust in how the state keeps its citizens safe and informed.
“We’ll continue to work with the community members to make sure we hear and respond to their concerns.
“In addition, MDEQ Director Dan Wyant has offered his resignation, and I’ve determined that it’s appropriate to accept it. I’m also making other personnel changes at MDEQ to address problems cited by the task force.
“But changes in leadership and staff are not enough. I understand there can be disagreements within the scientific community. That is why I have directed both the departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services to invite every external scientist who has worked on this issue to be our partners in helping us improve Flint water. Let’s share research on water and blood lead level testing so we can arrive at accurate and mutually supported conclusions. Together, we should work to affirm that we’re using the very best testing protocols to ensure Flint residents have safe drinking water and that we’re taking steps to protect their health over the short and long term.
“I want the Flint community to know how very sorry I am that this has happened. And I want all Michigan citizens to know that we will learn from this experience, because Flint is not the only city that has an aging infrastructure.
“I know many Flint citizens are angry and want more than an apology. That’s why I’m taking the actions today to ensure a culture of openness and trust. We’ve already allocated $10 million to test the water, distribute water filters, and help in other ways. Last week, I called Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, and we’re going to meet soon to discuss other ways the state can offer assistance.
“These are only initial steps – we fully expect to take more actions following the recommendations of our task force. When it comes to matters of health and quality of life, we’re committed to doing everything we can to protect the well-being of our citizens.”