Snyder grilled by congressional committee - WNEM TV 5

Snyder grilled by congressional committee

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Gov. Rick Snyder (Source: Michigan.gov) Gov. Rick Snyder (Source: Michigan.gov)
WASHINGTON (WNEM) -

“I'm not buying that you didn't know about any of this until Oct. 2015, you were not in a medically induced coma,” said Rep. Cartwright.

Gov. Rick Snyder facing tough questions while before the third House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Thursday morning.

Rep. Cartwright said he didn’t buy that Snyder claims he didn’t know about the increase in Legionnaires disease in Genesee County until Jan. 2016 after Cartwright says top level staffers knew in 2015.

Cartwright also said Snyder should resign.

Snyder testified that “It wasn't until October 2015 that I learned Flint water wasn't safe.” Although during testimony he admitted to receiving a letter from the Flint mayor in Jan. 2015 regarding the water issues. But Snyder maintained that the DEQ repeatedly told him and others that water from the Flint River was safe.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admits that no one has been fired from the EPA over the Flint Water Crisis while being questioned by Rep. John Mica. "EPA regional administrator was getting vacation bonuses while the kids were getting poisoned," said Mica.

Mica also told McCarthy "I hear recalls for resignation. I think you should be at the top of the list."

McCarthy replied back that "we [EPA] couldn't do our part effectively".

At one point, Snyder spoke up, saying that the "EPA and MDEQ were in regular dialect since July 2015 ... They're just not getting the job done".

Rep. Elijah Cummings places responsibility for the water's lead contamination on Snyder, saying "This is not just on the EPA. It's much bigger than that." Cummings also said "I find it hard to believe that a crisis of this magnitude could escape your attention for so long." And that if Snyder would probably face criminal charges if he were running a business. 

Congressman Chaffetz asked Snyder if the situation had been handled wrong, to which Snyder said yes. When Chaffetz asks McCarthy if the EPA did anything wrong she replied "I don't know whether we did everything right, that's the challenge we're facing." Later, under questioning by Rep. Mark Meadows, McCarthy said "The system failed, and we were part of that system."

Chaffetz said to McCarthy "You failed." "If you're going to do the courageous thing, you too should step down."

Rep. Tammy Duckworth picks up Chaffetz's thoughts saying "I think the EPA administrator should do the right thing and resign, and so should the governor."

In regards to corrosion control, Rep. Robin Kelly "The state never implemented corrosion control prior to the switch back to Detroit in October 2015." To which McCarthy said "We begged them to do corrosion control."

Kelly ended her time saying "I feel it ironic that Michigan's slogan is Pure Michigan because that was not the case."

Rep. Paul Gosar went on the attack against McCarthy, saying "You refuse to take responsibility." Gosar saying "I want to see responsibility. The American people deserve it."

Snyder said to Rep. Brenda Lawrence, "This is a sad event. It's a tragedy that never should have happened. And the people of Flint should be angry." Lawrence said "Governor, you're my governor. This could have been my city."

Rep. Gary Palmer switches the focus back to McCarthy and says the EPA has a history of cover-ups, and said for Flint there was "A cover-up that was going on that involved both the state of Michigan and the EPA." McCarthy says that the EPA aggressively intervened from day one.

While being questioned by Rep. Brenda Watson Coleman, Snyder admits that the emergency manager situation failed in Flint's case. Rep. Brendan Boyle asked Snyder "Don't you have a moral responsibility to resign?"  Snyder replied "I don't think the right answer is to walk away from it."

Boyle shifted his focus to McCarthy, saying this has been the most failing part of government since Hurricane Katrina. McCarthy said "I will take responsibility for not pressing hard enough, but I will not take responsibility for causing the problem."

Rep. Carolyn Maloney to Snyder "Gov. Snyder you utterly failed in your responsibility to protect them [Flint residents]." She says Snyder knew about the issue for a lack of corrosion control for six months and did nothing about it. "You dragged your feet based on political and financial concerns," said Maloney. Maloney ended her comments saying "I believe this is a national disgrace and a national scandal."

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier said to Snyder: Your attorney told us you started deleting personal emails. Snyder responded, "That's not accurate." Snyder went on to add that emails dating back to 2011 are being released.

Chaffetz switches the questioning back to McCarthy, and asks if she believes there is confusion regarding the federal lead and copper rule, to which she says yet. Regarding Flint McCarthy says "[It happened] because the state didn't implement [the rule]." Regarding corrosion control, McCarthy testified that the "state didn't take us up on corrosion control until September."

While talking to McCarthy, Rep. Lacy Clay says "Obviously the state of Michigan did not know best in this case." He goes on to say that "the main criticism is the EPA was not aggressive enough."

Cummings wrapped up the hearing by firing questions at Snyder. He pointed out, that according to emails released by the state, Flint was number 36 in the list of priorities. In regards to the children of Flint following the water crisis he said "Many of these children will never be what God intended them to be." he also told Snyder "You need to resign." 

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