Oh No, Michigan AG To Witch-Hunt Rick Snyder Just For Poisoning Entire City Of Flint
For your "damn well about time" Nice Times story today, the Associated Press is reporting that the Michigan attorney general's office is getting ready to announce new criminal charges in the ongoing Flint lead poisoning crisis. Among those to be charged will be former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, former state health department director Nick Lyon, and other Snyder administration officials involved in decisions that led to widespread lead poisoning in the mostly Black city of Flint. Snyder and his administration were widely condemned for inaction on the crisis, with many pointing out there's not a chance he'd have moved so slowly had a wealthy white community like Grosse Point or Ann Arbor suffered widespread lead poisoning
On top of the lead poisoning, Flint's water was also blamed for an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease that infected at least 90 people across Genesee County, killing 12.
The news was leaked by "two people with knowledge of the planned prosecution," who let the AP know Tuesday that the AG's office "has informed defense lawyers about indictments in Flint and told them to expect initial court appearances soon." A lawyer for Snyder says nope, nuh uh, witch hunt etc. The AP reports it didn't yet know what exactly the charges will be. Let's hope they get the book thrown at them — ideally a great big medical tome on how lead harms child development, on which they'll have to do a book report weekly, forever.
Just to recap the Flint Horror Story (Sundays at 9 on ABC), it all got started in 2013 when Flint was in the process of building a new pipeline to get water from Lake Huron. Until that pipeline was completed, the "emergency manager" Snyder appointed to impose austerity on Flint got the bright idea to save money by having Flint get its drinking water from the Flint River instead of continuing with its existing system, which paid to have Lake Huron water pumped in from Detroit's water system.
One teensy problem: When the switch was made in 2014, the managers of the Flint water plant neglected to add anti-corrosive chemicals, and the change in the water started eating away old pipes all beneath Flint, causing the water to turn brown and nasty and letting lead from old pipes and solder leach into the drinking water. And state health and utility regulators signed off on all of it.
And then there was the Legionella bacteria outbreak, which Snyder and Lyon announced in January of 2016, although, as the AP points out, "Lyon conceded that he knew that cases were being reported many months earlier."
In 2018, Lyon was ordered to stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges after a special prosecutor accused him of failing to timely inform the public about the outbreak. His attorneys argued there was not enough solid information to share earlier with the public.
After the 2018 elections brought Democrats to power in most Michigan executive branch roles, new AG Dana Nessel astonished pretty much everyone by dropping all existing charges against Lyon and other state officials, but "without prejudice," meaning that charges could be filed again. At the time, prosecutors said the original investigation of the Flint crisis had been inadequate, so they were going to start fresh with a full investigation that they and the people of Flint could believe in, rather than moving forward with prosecutions they thought were inadequate.
And now Rick Snyder is looking at being brought to justice. We'll keep you updated as this develops, and we know lots of Americans will hold Joe Biden to his promise that communities nationwide will get the help they need to have clean, safe water. Yes, even if Republicans fret about the cost. An America where kids aren't damaged by lead is going to have a lot more taxpayers, after all.
Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. If you can, please donate $5 to $10 a month so we can help you keep the bastards honest.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.