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flint water crisis

Michigan governor releases emails related to the Flint water crisis

During his State of the State address Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) said he would release emails from 2014 and 2015 related to the Flint water crisis, and on Wednesday, more than 270 pages of emails and notices were posted on his website.

The first email in the batch is almost entirely redacted, and House Minority Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) told the Detroit Free Press he was disappointed that Snyder only released his own emails, and not Flint-related emails from other officials. "It's very disappointing to see the governor play these types of games," he said.

Snyder appointed an emergency manager to Flint in 2014. It was at that time the city's water source was switched to the polluted Flint River. The emails show that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) first learned that there were elevated lead levels in children's blood on August 23, 2015, after a professor from Virginia Tech told the department he would be studying water quality issues in Flint "over the next few months."

Emails show on Sept. 26, 2015, Snyder's chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, accused Flint officials of "taking the very sensitive issue of children's exposure to lead and trying to turn it into a political football claiming the departments are underestimating the impacts on the populations and particularly trying to shift responsibility to the state." On Oct. 1, Flint residents were told to avoid drinking the water, but a press release on Oct. 2 from the DEQ said the water was safe to drink. A message from the Flint Water Advisory Task Force to Snyder sent on Dec. 29 puts most of the blame for the catastrophe on the DEQ.