Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration Friday released a trove of emails related to the Flint water crisis. The documents come from a long list of state government agencies, including the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Flint crisis began when it was discovered late last year the city's water supply was contaminated with dangerous levels of lead. More recently, the disaster has been investigated for a potential link to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that has left at least 10 people dead. So far, the documents indicate regulators ignored complaints from the community about the water quality.
“All levels of government failed the people of Flint,” Snyder said in a press release accompanying the document dump. “This crisis should never have happened, but we are making progress each day to meet the needs of residents. By making the information easily accessible, everyone can review it and take what they need, and then we can all focus and work together on solutions, healing and moving Flint forward.”
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) February 12, 2016
The release of the documents coincides with a personal effort from Snyder to reach out to the affected community. He has been conducting tele-town halls to hear from residents about their problems, having his administration call residents directly and then patching them into the town halls. So far, the Detroit Free Press reported, he’s learned people are dealing with a list of issues including fearing to eat produce from Flint gardens, concerns for children who drank the water and have since moved, and a general lack of education on the threats posed to them by the contaminated water.
It makes some sense the second-term Republican governor is making that sort of effort. The crisis has resulted in plummeting approval ratings for Snyder, with 69 percent of respondents in late January indicating they felt his handling of the issue has been poor.