State panel takes hearings to Flint for first time
FLINT, Mich. (WJBK) - One of the first to raise the alarm about Flint's water crisis was one of the first to talk to a state committee in Flint on Tuesday.
Leeanne Walters tried to tell the city there was a problem. She tried to tell the state they were being poisoned. Tuesday, she got her chance in front of the State Committee who met for the first time in Flint. Walters, a mom to twins, says her son's growth has been stumped and she blames the water.
"I have twins. One's 56 pounds, one's 35. He hasn't grown in a year," Walters testified on Tuesday before the joint committee on the Flint Water Public Health Emergency. The state lawmakers conducted the hearing in Flint instead of Lansing so they could hear from the people.
"I have 4-year-olds asking me if they're going to die, because they're poisoned," Walters said. " It wasn't just my son. We all were losing our hair - I lost my eyelashes at one point."
The Flint mom figured out there were no corrosion controls being added to the water from the Flint River. When her child was diagnosed with lead poisoning, she took her concerns to the city, the state, the EPA, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, who dismissed her concerns.
"It didn't matter what the people said. We were told it's only two years, get over it," Walters said.
Dr. Mona Hanna Attisha also testified and said she was discredited when her testing showed lead levels spiking in Flint's children.
"When a pediatrician hears anything about lead it's a call to action," she said.
Lawmakers also hearing from Mike Glasgow, the director of Flint's Water Treatment Plant, who had told the state Department of Environmental Quality in an email that the plant wasn't ready. An email he wrote was read before the panel:
"If water is distributed from this plant in the next couple of weeks, it will be against my direction."
Glasgow confirmed that was his email and says the move to the Flint River was happening too fast.
"I asked the initial question will we need to monitor phosphate and how frequently. The response was you will not need to monitor phosphate because we're not going to require you to add it at this time"
State Senator and Committee Chair Jim Stamas said the city was not listening to the people.
"What we're hearing today is that the residents of Flint were not listened to - whether it was the city, the county, the state or the federal government - they were not listened to - that's what we're here to do today
Jim Ananich, a Democrat from Flint, agreed saying that hopefully this will mean some results for the city.