Task force in Lansing levels blame on state in water crisis - WNEM TV 5

Task force in Lansing levels blame on state in water crisis

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) -

In last month's hearing in Washington D.C. the state and the federal government took some heat for what lead to the Flint water crisis.

At Tuesday's special hearing in Lansing, much more blame was directed at the state, specifically, the controversial emergency manager law.

"If you have an understaffed, underfunded, department of public works working under the mandate of the emergency manager to cut expenses at all costs. Where do you go next?" said Lawrence Reynolds.

Reynolds, a pediatrician and president and CEO of the Mott Children's Center said the state missed too many opportunities to limit resident's exposure to lead.

The switch to the Flint River for the city's drinking water supply has been linked to elevated lead in the blood of children, as well as a suspected but unconfirmed rise in the deadly Legionnaires disease in the area.

Panelists at the hearing agreed the tone of state government as the Flint water crisis was unfolding was to discredit individuals that raised concern. The task force's comprised of democrats also blamed the state's emergency manager law as well as emergency managers for having too broad of power while being responsible for operations within the city.

"They were not qualified to do all the functions within a local government," Reynolds said.

Moving forward Reynolds insists the governor must be open to whatever changes are necessary to avoid what he calls a catastrophic public health crisis.

"To make sure that all citizens of Michigan get clean safe drinking water," Reynolds said.

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