Speed Reads

flint water crisis

Emails show Michigan's governor could have declared a state of emergency in Flint months earlier

A new batch of emails released by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder reveals that his office knew as far back as November the he could unilaterally declare a state of emergency in Flint over the city's contaminated water supply.

"As you know, the governor can declare at any time for any reason," Capt. Chris Kelenske, deputy state director of emergency management and Homeland Security at the Michigan State Police, wrote in an email to a member of Snyder's staff on November 13. Kelenske argued that a declaration would speed the clean-up process by facilitating the flow of funding, but noted that it could be (correctly) perceived as an admission of government guilt.

The actual state of emergency was not announced until January 5, 2016 — a full year after the state began providing bottled water for its own employees in Flint in response to water quality concerns.