UPDATE: 6:30 p.m. EST -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regional administrator for Flint, Michigan has resigned in connection with the city's water crisis, the Associated Press reported.
"EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman has offered her resignation effective February 1, and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has accepted given Susan's strong interest in ensuring that EPA Region 5's focus remains solely on the restoration of Flint's drinking water," the agency said, CNN reported.
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Thursday that President Barack Obama has authorized $80 million in federal assistance to help Flint, Michigan, families amid the city’s unfolding water crisis, the Detroit News reported. Obama had declared a federal emergency Saturday, unlocking $5 million in aid, but previously rejected a request for major disaster assistance from Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. Snyder appealed that rejection.
“I want to thank President Obama for quickly responding to our request for federal assistance. While the state of Michigan must take the lead in making things right for Flint families, I am committed to continuing to do everything I can to make sure the maximum amount of federal help is available as quickly as possible,” Stabenow, a Democrat, said.
The White House has not yet confirmed the move.
Snyder had previously urged the state to approve $28 million in emergency funding to help with Flint’s water crisis, which was approved by the Michigan House Wednesday. The funding would reportedly pay for more bottled water, filters, health treatment, water testing and help the city offset unpaid water bills, ABC News reported. The money would also cover the replacement of plumbing fixtures is schools, day cares and medical facilities. The measure is now headed to the Senate.
During his annual State of the State speech Tuesday, Snyder said that the $28 million is not his last budget request for Flint; he is reportedly expected to include additional funding in his February budget proposal.
CityLab had previously reported that it might ultimately be necessary to replace all of Flint’s corrupted water pipes, which could cost as much as $1.5 billion.
“There’s money there and Flint needs to be made a priority about how these funds are distributed,” Flint mayor Karen Weaver previously said, CityLab reported. “This is bigger than the city can handle financially ... so we know we need some federal assistance. What [Gov. Snyder] talked about is a very good start, but we deserve more support, we deserve more resources, and more finances as a result of this.”