The Latest: NAACP leader meets governor for ‘frank’ talk
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on the Flint water crisis (all times local):
The NAACP’s national leader says he had a “frank” and “forthright conversation” with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder about proposals to alleviate the crisis in Flint caused by lead in drinking water.
NAACP President Cornell Brooks told reporters Tuesday night in Flint that he sat across from Snyder in a private meeting that included city, state and organization officials.
He says Snyder listened to the proposals, which include putting Flint’s youth to work distributing water and creating a victims’ fund.
Brooks says Snyder’s regret for what has happened appears “genuine.” The Republican governor and staff didn’t speak to reporters.
High lead levels have been found in Flint children as a result of a lack of corrosion treatment in water pulled from the Flint River.
National NAACP President and Chief Executive Cornell Brooks is expected to meet with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to discuss the crisis in Flint sparked by lead-tainted water.
Brooks planned to present a list of 15 priorities drawn up by the organization during the meeting Tuesday evening. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver and other NAACP officials are also expected to attend.
The plan includes a call to repeal Michigan’s emergency manager law, which Brooks and others see as a contributor to the health emergency in Flint. The city switched from Detroit’s water system in 2014 while under state emergency management and began drawing from the Flint River to save money, but the water wasn’t properly treated.
Brooks, who first spoke at a public meeting, also called for a federal investigation by the Justice Department and the creation of a victims’ fund.
National and local NAACP leaders are set to discuss a plan aimed at addressing concerns from Flint residents who may have been exposed to lead-tainted drinking water.
The plan is to be released Tuesday evening during a meeting in Flint and includes a call to repeal Michigan’s emergency manager law and replacing bottled water distribution efforts by National Guard members with local youth who would be paid at minimum wage.
Organizers also want free home inspections to determine the extent of damage caused by lead that leached out of aging pipes.
Flint switched from Detroit’s water system in 2014 while under state emergency management and began drawing from the Flint River to save money, but the water wasn’t properly treated for corrosion. High lead levels have since been found in some children.
Gov. Rick Snyder is asking the federal government for additional health care services for Flint children and young adults who may have been exposed to lead-tainted water.
Snyder’s office said Tuesday that the state is seeking expanded Medicaid eligibility for all residents in the impacted areas up to age 21. He also seeking additional community-based resources to ensure all children have access to comprehensive medical treatment and a federal Medicaid match for lead abatement.
The efforts would supplement state programs.
Flint was under state oversight in 2014 when it switched from Detroit water to the Flint River to save money. The river water wasn’t properly treated for corrosion, and lead began leaching from pipes into city drinking water.
Tests have shown high lead levels in some children after the switch.
Teams from the Environmental Protection Agency are preparing to collect samples to confirm that lead is being removed by water filters in Flint.
The EPA said Tuesday that it will next collect drinking water samples to get a better understanding of which plumbing materials are of greatest concern for lead-leaching and to ensure that corrosion control is being restored to Flint’s water system.
Tests have shown high lead levels in some children after Flint switched from Detroit water to the Flint River in 2014 to save money. The water wasn’t properly treated for corrosion, and lead began leaching from aging pipes into the drinking water.
Other samples collected by the EPA from throughout the system show chlorine is present but levels in some areas could be improved.
The lead-tainted water crisis in Flint has attracted the attention of the United Nations.
Baskut Tuncak (BAHS’-kut TOON’-jahk), the international organization’s expert on hazardous substance and waste, tells The Associated Press on Tuesday the UN is “following the developments in Flint and looking at it from the human rights lens.”
Flint’s water became contaminated with lead from aging pipes when the city switched from Detroit water to the Flint River in 2014 to save money. Some children’s blood has since tested positive for lead, which is linked to learning disabilities.
The UN sent two human rights officials to Detroit in 2014 as the city was shutting off water service to residents behind on their bills. They had no enforcement abilities, but called on Detroit officials to restore water to those unable to pay.
A Republican legislative leader is criticizing Michigan’s attorney general for opening an investigation into Flint’s lead-tainted water, saying the probe should wait until a state task force’s work is done.
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof said Tuesday that “duplicating efforts is not very helpful.”
Attorney General Bill Schuette, also a Republican, hired special counsel for his office’s investigation. His office also will defend the state against lawsuits brought by Flint residents.
Meekhof suggests Schuette should pay for the outside investigators with existing funds and not ask for additional money. He said once a panel appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder finishes its work, Schuette would then have a better idea of whether to investigate.
A Schuette spokesman declined to comment.
Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich says Schuette took months too long to investigate, but he will “give him the benefit of the doubt until I see otherwise.”
National and local NAACP leaders are planning to reveal what they call a “15-point priority plan” to address the health emergency in Flint due to lead-tainted water.
A meeting is scheduled Tuesday in Flint with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President and Chief Executive Cornell Brooks, along with NAACP leaders from Flint and Detroit.
The civil rights organization says the plan was developed with input from Flint residents. More than half of Flint’s 100,000 residents are black.
Flint switched from Detroit’s water system in 2014 while under state emergency management and began drawing from the Flint River to save money.
But the water wasn’t properly treated for corrosion, and lead began leaching from aging pipes into the drinking water.
Michigan’s Republican attorney general has named a former prosecutor to spearhead an investigation into the process that left Flint’s drinking water tainted with lead.
Democrats question whether the special counsel would be impartial.
Attorney General Bill Schuette said Monday that Todd Flood, a former assistant prosecutor for Wayne County, will lead the probe and be joined by Andy Arena, a retired head of Detroit’s FBI office.
It is unclear at this point if the probe could result in criminal or civil charges.
The investigation could focus on whether environmental laws were broken or if there was official misconduct in the process that left Flint’s drinking water contaminated.