A U.S. House committee is expected to hold a hearing Feb. 3 regarding Flint, Michigan’s ongoing water crisis and the state and local governments' response to it, U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence’s office said Thursday, the Detroit Free Press reported. Among those expected to be invited to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
The hearing would mark the first congressional inquiry into the crisis; Lawrence penned a letter a week ago to the leaders of the committee requesting a hearing, arguing that it is Congress’ responsibility to address, "a man-made disaster created by the poor policy decisions of elected and career government officials."
Chairman Jason Chaffetz has reportedly accepted Lawrence’s suggestions for other invitees aside from Snyder, including Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, Dr. Mona Hanna-Atissha — the pediatrician whose findings of elevated levels of lead in children’s blood spurred outside investigations — and Virginia Tech Professor Mark Edwards, the specialist who brought a team to Flint to examine the level of lead in the city’s drinking water, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Earlier this month, Snyder declared a state of emergency for Genesee County after it was determined that as a result of a money-saving switch of water supply in 2014, Flint’s tap water had become contaminated with an excess amount of lead. President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for Michigan on Saturday, unlocking $5 million in federal funding, and the National Guard has been helping deliver clean water to residents. The state has been slammed for largely ignoring complaints about the water until late last year.
"Your families face a crisis — a crisis you did not create and could not have prevented," Snyder said in his State of the State address Tuesday. "To you, the people of Flint, I say tonight as I have before: I am sorry and I will fix it," Snyder said. "Government failed you."