Gov. Snyder grilled over Flint water crisis by congressional committee
Governor Rick Snyder and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency were center stage in front of the House Oversight Committee where both were accused of failing to protect the people of Flint when they knew there was lead in the water.
The exchange got heated on both sides of the table Thursday when Govenor Snyder and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy were front and center. Multiple times during the hearing, the Governor was called to resign for his role in the crisis. That brought applause from Flint residents who had made the trip to Washington for the hearings. Snyder apologized to the people of Flint and promised to fix what's broken.
"I'm going to Flint tomorrow to roll up my sleeves" Snyder said. But that guarantee didn't convince the committee that he didn't know about the problem much earlier.
"I'm not buying that you didn't know about any of this until October 2015. You were not in a medically induced coma for a year. I've had enough of your phony apologies," Rep. Matt Cartwright said.
Members cited emails regarding Legionairre's disease and lead circulated within the governor's inner circle well before the public was made aware. Michigan republican Tim Walberg asked about the information being in the highest levels of Snyder's office 10 months before he said he knew.
"I don't recall any mention of that to me and I don't recall being part of any of those emails or any of those discussions," Snyder said he 'didn't recall' his top legal advisor raising concerns. He also stressed that the issue was not a lead issue at that time and the issues were with E. Coli and the color and taste of the water.
Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings wasn't pleased with those answers.
"There are two basic possiblities: Either your chief of staff told you about these returns and you did nothing or he didn't tell you and you are an absentee governor," Cummings said.
"Even when you did know, you did nothing. Your delay sickened an unkown number of people. I believe this is a national disgrace and a national scandal," Democrat Carolyn Maloney said.
The gallery was packed with people who traveled all the way from Flint, plus overflow rooms were filled to capacity, leaving some standing the hall and unable to watch after the 12-hour bus ride.
"We got this far and still never got in the room. We got this far to fight. I'm fighting for my family," Demeceo Braylock said.
McCarthy wasn't let off any easier. She was grilled for her agency's slow response to the crisis and admitted her agency could have done more.
"I will take responsibility for not pushing hard enough, but I will not take responsbility for causing this problem," McCarthy said.
Snyder also admitted in court that he had asked for $1 million to pay his criminal and civil defense fees.
Some residents who made the journey and spoke with FOX 2's Amy Lange said it was about time that Snyder was forced to answer questions.
Another hearing is set for April but who will appear is unclear at this time.
The Governor did not respond to calls for him to resign but did issue a statement when his testimony was complete. CLICK HERE TO READ IT.