MDEQ interim director assigned following Wyant's resignation - WNEM TV 5

MDEQ interim director assigned following Wyant's resignation

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  • Flint Water Crisis

    Flint Water Crisis

    Flint's water crisis arose arose after the city broke away from Detroit's water system to save money pending the completion of a new regional pipeline in 2016.

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    Flint's water crisis arose arose after the city broke away from Detroit's water system to save money pending the completion of a new regional pipeline in 2016.

    More >

Gov. Rick Snyder assigned an interim director for the Department of Environmental Quality one day after the former director resigned.

Former director Dan Wyant resigned and Snyder issued an apology on Dec. 29 following the Flint water crisis.

Michigan's Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh was appointed interim director of the MDEQ. His role is effective Jan. 4 , Snyder said.

"Keith has an unparalleled passion for Michigan's environment, working closely with the DEQ during his years with both the DNR and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development," Snyder said.

Bill Moritz will serve as interim director for the DNR.

In a letter outlining changes at the DEQ, Snyder said “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.”

Snyder said he has directed the Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services to work with external scientists who have worked on the water issues to help improve Flint’s water.

Snyder also said $10 million has been allocated to test water, distribute water filters and help in other ways.

“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," Snyder said.

The news release came in response to initial findings from the Flint Water Task Force and also broke the news that Wyant is no longer the director of the MDEQ.

“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," Snyder said.

Snyder created the Flint Water Advisory Task Force in October to review government actions after children were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood and it was determined that corrosive river water was leaching lead from aging service lines.

Michigan's auditor general said in a report Monday that the Department of Environmental Quality erred in not requiring Flint to immediately combat corrosion when it switched from Detroit's system to the Flint River in 2014.

Click here to read the release from Snyder's office.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today released the following statement regarding the resignation of Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant:

"I am saddened to hear of the resignation of Department of Environment Quality Director Dan Wyant. In my 20-plus years of knowing him, Dan has been a hardworking, dedicated public servant. I am committed to working with all parties, including the legislature and Governor, to ensure the public's health and the well being of Michigan residents." 

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) released the following statement after Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant resigned over his handling of the Flint water crisis:

"If these personnel moves and change in tone lead to a more aggressive response and resources to improve public health, then we are finally making progress. I still believe that legislative hearings will be required to get all the answers and help shape the necessary policy changes, and ensure this never happens again.”

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) issued the following statement today on the ongoing Flint water crisis:

“Governor Snyder’s apology over the Flint water crisis is appropriate, as are personnel changes announced today at the Department of Environmental Quality. Through this ongoing crisis, the people of Flint did nothing wrong – they are victims of this failure of government. The State of Michigan must not only acknowledge its role in this crisis, but also take responsibility and act right away to make it right.

“The state can immediately step up to help the children of Flint who have suffered lead exposure. Today, the Governor alluded to ‘more actions’ in the coming days to help Flint residents. These actions by the state should include the establishment of a fund to ensure that kids – who are at the greatest risk for health problems from lead poisoning – receive the developmental, educational and nutritional support they need to help overcome the challenges associated with lead exposure.

“The State of Michigan can help these kids. If the state helps them now, they will have a better future. But we cannot delay – every day kids in Flint lose without support is a day they cannot get back.”

Statement from state Representative Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint) on the resignation of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant:

“For months, the call has been public and aggressive for Dan Wyant to remove himself from his position, or to have Gov. Rick Snyder do the deed for him. There are many culpable parties involved in the continued decline of health and safety during the water crisis in the city of Flint, and Wyant was just one figure in a menagerie of offenders. While there is still much cleanup to be done, I am glad Mr. Wyant realized he could no longer continue as the head of the disorganized and flawed DEQ, and I call on Gov. Snyder to take careful effort in repairing this department so that it earns back the trust of the people of Flint and this great state.

“There is a need today to make sure we look to the future, so instances such as the mess the DEQ caused do not occur again. In the past year during this crisis, I have introduced legislation to help keep citizens safe and informed, including House Bill 5094, which would fix the process for the collection of water samples. I am hopeful and eager for this bill to get a hearing, because once passed, it will make sure the DEQ cannot ignore water samples as they did in Flint. The health and safety of our citizens must be paramount in all we do.”

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