Snyder, Earley to testify in second round of Flint water hearings on Capitol Hill

Posted at 2:05 PM, Mar 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-14 14:05:00-04

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Snyder will be among several high-ranking state and federal officials answering to Congress this week on decisions made leading up to the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint.

Snyder said he's anticipating a challenging day, but added it's nothing that compares to the challenges which continue to face those living in Flint.

The U.S. House Oversight and Governmental Reform committee is scheduled to hear additional rounds of testimony on Tuesday and Thursday from key decision-makers involved in the crisis.

The committee first held a hearing on Flint in February, which Snyder was not invited to attend.

After giving remarks at an event in Grand Rapids on Monday afternoon, Snyder told reporters he's hoping to have a "reasonable" dialogue with committee members.

Asked again if he's considering resigning in wake of the crisis and a growing chorus from the opposition to do so, Snyder said it's not an option.

“I want to fix it," he told reporters. "There was failure at all levels of government: local, state and federal. You just don’t walk away from that, you say ‘here’s way to solve those problems, here’s ways to learn from those experiences and go fix it.'”

Snyder is scheduled to testify Thursday, alongside current EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. The testimony will follow the release of thousands of emails voluntarily made public in recent months by Snyder's office, revealing several of his top aides knew about the escalating issues, but failed to inform him.

Snyder spokesperson Ari Adler told FOX 17 the governor is looking forward to testifying after volunteering to do so before receiving the official request.

Gov. Snyder’s office had said Feb. 12 he offered to testify before the committee. Snyder was not called to testify before the committee during a Feb. 3 hearing about Flint.

"It will be an opportunity for him, once again, to answer questions about what happened to allow all levels of government to fail the people of Flint so miserably," Adler said.

"He plans on spending a long day in D.C. answering questions and sharing information on what the state is doing to repair the water service in Flint."

Adler also said Snyder will "not be shy" about calling for changes to the federal lead and copper rule because the EPA is "more interested in burying red flags than raising them" when it comes to protecting public health.

Former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley will take the hot seat to testify before committee members before Snyder on Tuesday.

Walling and Earley will be joined by Marc Edwards, the Virgina Tech professor credited with sounding the alarm on lead levels, and Susan Hedman, the former EPA administration who headed up the department that oversees the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Hedman resigned her position earlier in the year.

Earley was the city's emergency manager in 2014 during the time period Flint switched water systems from Detroit to the Flint River. After stepping down as emergency manager of the Detroit Public Schools Feb. 29, Earley declined an invite to appear at a previous congressional hearing.

Committee chair Jason Chaffetz vowed to have U.S. Marshals “hunt down” Earley to have him testify.

Chaffetz, who met with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver Saturday at the Flint water plant, said the “system totally failed and people need to be held accountable.”

FOX 17 political reporter Josh Sidorowicz will be in Washington D.C. for live coverage beginning Tuesday.