Task force lays Flint water crisis blame on DEQ

The results from an independent task force are in and they say the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality bears the brunt of the responsibility for what happened in Flint.

- The Flint Water Crisis Task Force appointed by Governor Rick Snyder released its official findings on Wednesday, putting most of the blame on the State Department of Environmental Quality but also said other agencies are to blame.

Former Republican majority leader in the Michigan Senate, Ken Sikkema, co-chair with former Democratic State Representative Chris Kolb are part of the independent Flint Water Advisory Task Force delivered a sobering account of what happened.

"What happened in Flint is a clear case of environmental injustice," Sikkema said.

His Democratic counter-part agreed.

"It was a mixture of ignorance, incompetence, and arrogance by many decision-makers that created a toxic and tragic situation that produced the Flint water crisis," Kolb said.

The task force laid out who's to blame after reviewing extensive documents and interviewing more than 60 people. However, the task force did not the power to subpoena anyone.

The department of environmental quality here in michigan bears primary responsibility for what happened in Flint," Sikkema said.

The task force also saying the Department of Health and Human Services didn't understand their data on lead levels in Flint's children. The task force also squarely laying blame on Emergency Management

"The decision to go to the flint river was made by the emergency manager," Sikkema said.

But they didn't just place blame, they also had a message for Governor Rick Rnyder: change the emergency manager law.

"Ultimate accountability for executive branch decisions obviously rest with the governor," Sikkema said." We are suggesting to the governor and the legislature that the emergency manager law in Michigan needs to be reviewed."

They're also calling for an investigation into KWA, the water source Flint was and is supposed to connect to.

"In a region of the state that's impoverished we think there needs to be a full investigation into the history of KWA," Sikkema said.

The task force admits that they did not have full cooperation in their investigation.

"Some organizations are stone-walling and if we're going to identify anybody in this process we are still waiting to hear from LAN- the engineering firm," Dr. Lawrence Reynolds said.

The task force presenting the governor with 44 recommendations moving forward like fixing MDEQ, Health and Human Services and Emergency Management.

"I can tell you of the recommendations, there's 25 we are already working on. There are nine we're still checking on and ten that are being referred to other organizations," Governor Snyder said.

CLICK HERE to read the complete report.


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