The Latest: Flint mother files lawsuit over lead crisis
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on Flint’s lead-contaminated water crisis (all times local):
A mother who testified on Capitol Hill about Flint’s lead-contaminated water crisis has filed a lawsuit against government officials and corporate entities.
The Flint Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1p2IZGx ) LeAnne Walters’ suit was filed Thursday in Genesee County Circuit Court. Those named include firms hired to evaluate the city’s water services as well Flint’s former public utilities director, a former Michigan Department of Environmental Quality spokesman and the state’s chief medical executive.
She says the individuals and companies were negligent and responsible for the high lead levels to which her four children have been exposed.
State representatives declined to comment. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, one of the firms sued, says its services were limited and not related to overall water quality.
Attorneys representing Walters have filed similar complaints on behalf of other Flint parents.
The federal government is extending Medicaid health insurance to Flint residents up to age 21 and to pregnant women who were exposed to lead in the city’s water supply.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell says 15,000 people will qualify and 30,000 current Medicaid recipients will be eligible for more services. They’ll qualify for lead monitoring of their blood as well as behavioral health services.
Flint used the Flint River for drinking water for 18 months, but the corrosive water allowed lead to leach from old plumbing. The city switched water sources last fall.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s office says Medicaid coverage will be available to people of all incomes, but some people at certain levels may need to pay to get full benefits.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is seeking additional federal funding to help protect public health and safety in Flint amid the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water.
Snyder says he submitted an appeal Thursday to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance that was denied under an original emergency request. In a statement, Snyder notes water quality is improving but that there’s “a long road ahead for Flint’s recovery.”
FEMA earlier approved an emergency declaration but denied an appeal by Snyder for additional aid for Flint through a disaster declaration.
The latest appeal requests funding from the Category B program for emergency protective measures, which would cover costs of food, water and other essential needs; and the Individuals and Households Program, which could help homeowners repair water systems.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has hired two outside lawyers to assist with civil representation and to search and process emails and other records connected to Flint’s lead-tainted water crisis.
Snyder spokesman Ari Adler confirmed in an email Thursday that Eugene Driker and Brian Lennon have each been awarded a contract worth $249,000 through Dec. 31.
The contracts were first reported Wednesday by Crain’s Detroit Business.
The office of Michigan’s attorney general is representing the Republican governor and others in lawsuits filed over the water situation.
If consumed, lead can cause developmental delays and learning disabilities.
Separately, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that $3.6 million in emergency funds will be used to expand Head Start and Early Head Start services for Flint children.