Gov. Snyder to testify about Flint water crisis before House committee; releases more emails

Posted at 1:03 PM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 13:03:54-05

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder will testify before the House Oversight Committee about the water crisis in Flint. He made the announcement today on Twitter that he offered to testify. Snyder also released thousands of pages of emails today.

The governor's office said in a release that he contacted Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and asked for the opportunity to testify about how local, state and federal governments have failed Flint.

Chaffetz said he appreciates Snyder's willingness to appear.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy was also invited to testify.   No date for the hearing has been set.

The House Oversight Committee held a hearing Feb. 3about the ongoing water crisis in Flint.  State and federal officials were called to testify, but not Gov. Snyder.

Upset Democrats questioned why the Republican-led committee didn’t ask the governor to attend to testify.

Gov. Snyder previously declined an invitation to testify about Flint Feb. 10 before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

Among a batch of newly released emails out Friday, one shows that shortly before Flint began drawing its drinking water from the Flint River, an official with the city water plant feared things were moving too quickly.

Mike Glasgow was laboratory and water quality supervisor on April 17, 2014, when he sent a message to officials with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Glasgow said people above him were planning to distribute water "ASAP." But he said he still needed time to train more staffers and update monitoring plans.

He wrote that if water was distributed from the plant within the next couple of weeks, it would be against his direction. But he said his superiors "seem to have their own agenda."

Eight days later, Flint stopped using water supplied by Detroit and began tapping the Flint River. The water was not treated with anti-corrosive chemicals and some eventually became polluted with lead from aging pipes.

Glasgow's email was among about 20,000 released by the governor's office Friday.

Flint is under a public health emergency after its drinking water became tainted when the city switched from the Detroit system and began drawing from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money. The city was under state management at the time.

Water was not properly treated to keep lead from pipes from leaching into the supply. Some children’s blood has tested positive for lead, a potent neurotoxin linked to learning disabilities, lower IQ and behavioral problems.

The Associated Press contributed to this report