Aug 01, 2016

Six State Employees Criminally Charged in Flint, Mich., Crisis

Michigan Departments of Health & Human Services, Environmental Quality employees face charges

drinking water, flint, Michigan, charges, felony

Six state employees were criminally charged in district court in connection with the Flint, Mich., water crisis.

According to testimonies in Flint’s district court, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services employees Nancy Peeler, Corinne Miller and Robert Scott, and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) employees Liane Shekter-Smith, Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook were charged.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Todd Flood, the attorney heading the attorney general's investigation, called a news conference at the University of Michigan-Flint to discuss the criminal charges.

In April, Schuette announced felony charges against two DEQ officials—Stephen Busch and Mike Prysby—and one city of Flint official—Mike Glasgow. Glasgow pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor and is cooperating with the investigation. Other charges on Glasgow were dropped. Busch and Prysby are awaiting preliminary examinations.

Schuette later brought a civil lawsuit against firms that consulted on the Flint Water Treatment Plant. Filed in Genesee County Circuit Court in Flint, the lawsuit accuses engineering firm Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam and environmental consultant Veolia North America and related companies of allegedly causing the “Flint water crisis to occur, continue and worsen." Both companies have denied the charges.

The city of Flint’s drinking water became contaminated with lead in April 2014. Under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager, the city switched from treated water supplied from Detroit to raw water from the Flint River, which was treated at the Flint Water Treatment Plant. DEQ officials have acknowledged a mistake in failing to require corrosion control chemicals to be added to the water. As a result, lead leached from pipe, joints and fixtures and local children experienced high blood lead levels. 

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