Governor Rick Snyder issued a tardy apology this past Tuesday to residents of Flint for supplying them with what has been discovered to be contaminated water all in an effort to cut costs.
“I’m sorry, and I will fix it,” Mr. Snyder said in a State of the State address The Flint water crisis has consumed the state in recent weeks and has drawn condemnation from national politicians including Democratic Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
“No citizen of this great state should endure this kind of catastrophe. Government failed you — federal, state and local leaders — by breaking the trust you place in us,” he added. “I’m sorry most of all that I let you down,” he said. “You deserve better. You deserve accountability. You deserve to know that the buck stops here with me. Most of all, you deserve to know the truth, and I have a responsibility to tell the truth.”
Mr. Snyder cited repeated missteps by members of his administration, including misunderstanding regulations and failing to immediately identify the presence of lead in Flint’s drinking water. He also said that he was told the lead problem was limited to one household, and that worries about lead were raised as long ago as last February. He pointedly thanked the whistle-blowers who detected the lead levels in the water and in children’s blood, prompting a flurry of action in recent weeks. Additionally, he promised to seek $28 million in state funds for Flint residents to provide more bottled water, health care for children in the city, and improvements to the city’s troubled infrastructure.
“To the families in Flint, it is my responsibility, my commitment to deliver,” Mr. Snyder continued. “I give you my commitment that Michigan will not let you down.”
President Obama, who signed an emergency declaration releasing $5 million in federal assistance recently met with the Mayor of Flint, Karen Weaver, in Washington.
“The president heard firsthand how the residents of Flint are dealing with the ongoing public health crisis and the challenges that still exist for the city, its residents and the business community,” according to a statement describing the meeting.
The Detroit Free Press along with Flint residents are demanding full accountability, starting with the governor’s emails, which under state law were protected from public scrutiny. On Monday, protesters marched outside Mr. Snyder’s apartment building in Ann Arbor, calling for his arrest.
“What took the governor so long to do something about this?” asked Dan Reyes, 46, an autoworker and Flint resident who brought bottles full of the city’s tap water to offer to legislators. “The message is clear to us: Flint is a predominantly minority, poor community. In Flint, you don’t matter to Snyder’s brand of politician.”