DETROIT (WJBK) - The Flint water crisis has come to a boiling point, and the heat is being felt in Detroit inside a federal courtroom. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the ACLU, representing the people of Flint, are asking the court to make the state and the city of Flint replace the lead-laden water pipes with new ones.
"This is a critical issue for the people of Flint. The government has fallen down on the job; they poisoned the people of Flint and it's time for the people to take action," says Michael Steinberg, who is with the ACLU.
The Safe Drinking Water Act is what is at the center of the hearing. The federal rule spells out that every American should have safe, clean drinking water to drink, and when that doesn't happen it has to be fixed.
The state is expected to say it's the city of Flint's responsibility to fix the pipes. The City of Flint attorneys will ask the court to take a step back and drop the lawsuit from federal court, and that the issue should be taken up in the court of appeals instead.
Bottom line for the people? We didn't create the problem, and it's the state and the city who should fix it.
Right now, Gov. Snyder - who's drinking the water at home - says it's safe when filtered. Pregnant women and kids under 6 are being asked to drink bottled water for now. And just this week, the mayor of Flint and Gov. Snyder urged residents to flush out any lead particles by turning the water for 10 minutes every day for two weeks. The state also vowed to pick up the tab on Flint water bills for the entire month of May.
What's being demanded in court, though, is a more permanent fix.
"This water is still not safe to drink in Flint. It's not safe for children; it's not safe for pregnant people. The populus of Flint has been exposed to lead for so long and it's time for the government to stop dilly-dallying and replace the lead pipes," Steinberg says.
"The governor has stated several times that it's his fault and he's going to fix it, but as you heard today they're trying to say that it's not their fault and that they don't have any responsibility and that they were not the ones fiscally responsible for it," says Flint Resident, Pastor Allen Overton. "So, that is very alarming to me that, today, they're saying that we don't have any responsibility over that water plant."
As of now, about two dozen homes have had new pipes put it, but then the work was halted.
A federal judge has the case in his hands to possibly decide who will replace the pipes and how they will be replaced. No word on how long it will take for a decision to be made.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 2 for updates.