House Democratic leader Tim Greimel has called on Governor Rick Snyder of Ann Arbor to resign from office. Greimel said Governor Snyder has been “indifferent and negligent” in his handling of the Flint water crisis. According to the Detroit Free Press, this call came after Snyder’s office voluntarily released emails related to the Flint drinking water crisis dating back to 2011, when he took office.
Email correspondence shows Governor Snyder knew of the poor water conditions prior to October, 2015, when Flint city officials urged residents to stop drinking the water after government epidemiologists validated the findings of high lead levels. Michigan Live reported that eight days before the city switched to Flint River for its water source, Laboratory & Water Quality Supervisor Mike Glasglow warned state regulators that the switch could have adverse effects.
“I was reluctant before, but after looking at the monitoring schedule and our current staffing, I do not anticipate giving the OK to begin sending water out anytime soon,” Laboratory & Water Quality Supervisor Mike Glasgow’s email says. “If water is distributed from this plant in the next couple weeks, it will be against my direction.”
Glasgow sent this email to Adam Rosenthal, Mike Prysby, and Stephen Busch, officials at the Department of Environmental Quality. Nonetheless, eight days later, former mayor Dayne Wallings turned off the flow of water from Detroit and water plant workers started pumping Flint River water for the first time in nearly 50 years.
The shift was a short term water solution until the Karengnondi Water Authority pipeline to Lake Huron was complete. The project began April, 2014. During the experimental phase of the switch to Flint River, the city has showed an inability to keep bacteria and cancer-causing total trihalomethanes (TTHM) out of the water.
The Department of Environmental Quality never required treatment of the river water to make it less corrosive, so lead leaked in the distribution system. As a result, the percentage of young children with elevated blood lead levels tripled in some parts of the city.
Genesee County and state officials have linked the Flint water with an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, killing nine between 2014 and 2015. This disease is a severe infection of legionella species, primarily in the form of L. pneumophila, which is responsible for 90 percent of infections in the human body. The disease typically resembles pneumonia.
Therefore, Tim Greimel doesn’t believe Governor Rick Snyder wasn’t aware the water was unsafe to consume.
“It is inconceivable that the governor wasn’t aware of what was going on. In fact, the governor’s own chief of staff came out last week and indicated that he had been keeping the governor informed all along the way,” Greimel said. “He needs to resign.”
Tim believes it is the only way to restore the public confidence in their state government. He joins Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon and the Toledo Blade in calling for Snyder’s resignation. Despite the call for his resignation, spokesman Ari Adler said the governor is committed to staying in office.
“Gov. Snyder is fully committed to remaining in office and fixing the problems with the water in Flint and the problems within state government that caused this crisis in the first place,” Adler said. “We need to restore safe water to the pipes of Flint and we need to restore trust in their government to the people of Flint. Finding solutions, fixing problems and moving Flint forward by working together will deliver safe water and real results for the people of Flint now and far into the future.”
Governor Rick Synder has owned the accusations that he knew of the crisis before October, 2015, but he wasn’t aware of the confirmed lead levels until October 1, 2015. However, it wasn’t until January 5 that he declared a state of emergency in Flint and Genesee, making all states resources available to help in addressing the health issues and providing an avenue for the state to seek federal aid.
Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananiach has not called for Governor Tim Synder’s resignation, but he feels that “Snyder should testify under oath to answer every question we have and he needs to follow through on fixing this mess he created. His handling of this so far has been a disgrace but I’m not ready to call for his resignation yet because I don’t want him using it to get out of disclosing everything we still need to know.”
[Photo by Paul Sancya/AP Photo]