Emails released by a liberal group suggest that a state office building received clean drinking water

By Char Adams
January 29, 2016 02:55 PM
Credit: Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press/Zuma

Newly released emails about the Flint, Michigan, water crisis suggest that state employees were supplied with clean drinking water while officials told the city’s residents that their tap water was safe to drink.

Progress Michigan, a liberal group critical of governor Rick Snyder’s administration, released the emails on Thursday, one of which noted violations to the city’s drinking water standards and offered a short-term solution – for those in the Flint State Office Building.

“[The Department of Technology, Management and Budget] is in the process of providing a water cooler on each occupied floor, positioned near the water fountain, so you can choose which water to drink,” the facility notification obtained by the New York Times stated.

“The cooler will arrive today and will be provided as long as the public water does not meet treatment requirements.”

However, a spokesperson for the DTMB told the Associated Press that the agency provided clean water to the State Office Building after it failed drinking water standards unrelated to lead.

“We have provided it continuously,” the spokesperson said. “That was a decision we made as the building owner.”

When asked about the emails and claims on Friday, Snyder said he “had no knowledge of that taking place,” the AP reports.

One week earlier, Snyder released hundreds of emails of his own, in an attempt to be transparent about his often criticized handling of the water crisis.

The emails showed that it took months of receiving complaints from the public before state officials admitted that the city was in the midst of a major public health emergency.

But the executive director of Progress Michigan told the Detroit Free Press that perhaps the state was not as slow to react as initially thought.

“Sadly, the only response was to protect the Snyder administration from future liability and not to protect the children of Flint,” Lonnie Scott said.

“While residents were being told to relax and not worry about the water, the Snyder administration was taking steps to limit exposure in its own building.”

In December, the mayor of Flint, Michigan, declared a state of emergency after a number of children suffered lead poisoning from the city’s tap water.

In a statement, Mayor Karen Weaver said the lead poisoning “will result in learning disabilities and the need for special education and mental health services and an increase in the juvenile justice system.”