Flint Water Task Force releases report: 'A story of government failure'

Report says MDEQ to blame, calls for Michigan EM law to be reviewed

FLINT, Mich. – After more than four months since being created by Gov. Rick Snyder, the Flint Water Advisory Task Force has released a 116-page report with findings and recommendations regarding the water crisis in Flint. 

The full report was released ahead of a news conference Wednesday morning. It puts the blame on the the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and calls for a review of the state of Michigan's emergency manager law. 

View and/or download the full report here.

Task force co-chair Chris Kolb calls the Flint water crisis a “catastrophic failure by government for the people of Flint."

“ ... and, most disturbingly, their complaints were dismissed for far too long. One of the biggest lessons we hope to impart in our report is the need for government leaders to listen to their constituents; in Flint that didn’t happen,” said Kolb in a statement released with the report.

The report includes 36 findings and 44 recommendations. It describes the role of government entities including the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the governor's office, state-appointed emergency managers, the city of Flint, the Genesee County Health Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

"MDEQ bears primary responsibility for the water contamination in Flint," the report reads. 

The task force suggests the MDHHS "bears ultimate responsibility for leadership and coordination of timely follow-­up efforts in Flint and across the state regarding childhood lead poisoning."

Report calls for EM law to be reviewed

The reports recommends the state "Consider alternatives to the current emergency manager approach."

" ... for example, a structured way to engage locally elected officials on key decisions; an Ombudsman function in state government to ensure that local concerns are a factor in decisions made by the emergency manager; and/or a means of appealing emergency manager decisions to another body."

Governor Rick Snyder said during Wednesday's news conference he believes the emergency manager law has value. 

"Overall, can it be improved? I'm always open to that discussion and I appreciate the recommendations and I look forward to talking with the legislature," said Snyder. 

Report: Governor's knowledge 'compromised' by wrong information

"The Governor’s knowledge, and that of Governor’s office staff, of various aspects of the Flint water crisis was compromised by the information -- much of it wrong -- provided by MDEQ and MDHHS," the report reads. "The Governor’s office continued to rely on incorrect information provided by these departments despite mounting evidence from outside experts and months of citizens’ complaints throughout the Flint water crisis, only changing course in early October 2015 when MDEQ and MDHHS finally acknowledged the extent of the problem of lead in the public water supply."












About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.