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Government Officials in Michigan Face Felony Charges and Prison Time

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The lead criminal charge brought on Wednesday against two Michigan state officials in connection with the tainted water supply in Flint, Michigan, could be hard to prove, lawyers familiar with the state’s criminal law said.

Glasgow, a supervisor at the Flint water treatment plant, was charged with “felony tampering with evidence by falsifying and altering reports” to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Stephen Busch: He faces one charge of misconduct in office, one charge of conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence and separate violations of water treatment and monitoring laws he was charged with enforcing. That charge could result in four years in prison and/or a $5,000 penalty. They also are facing two misdemeanors of violating the Safe Drinking Water Act.

In July 2015, following complaints from residents about the quality of their water, Flint utilities administrator Michael Glasgow filed a lead and copper report to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality showing that the city had collected 71 water samples to test for levels of lead and copper.

“They failed MI families”.

They’re now the first to face charges in the Flint water crisis.

Mike Cox, who previously served as Michigan’s attorney general, told Bloomberg BNA that the state investigation would likely next look at people on the same level or above those who were charged. “We have a lot of people to interview, a lot of evidence to get”, said former Wayne County prosecutor Todd Flood, who is helping lead the investigation. “I’m also concerned about this-what if someone wants to sue and the State of MI says that person no longer works for us?” “But nobody is off limits, either”. It was the emergency managers, and not local officials, who made the ultimate decision to switch Flint’s water source.

“It’s a victory”, Chatman said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, if you break the law there will be consequences”. This sends a signal out to others. And you need to be held accountable for us.

“What I’ve said consistently from the beginning is this tragic situation was the result of bad decisions by bureaucrats”. “If they have to go to the top, that’s what they should do”, Chatman said. We expect the facts will determine the outcome….

Snyder, who has been fending off calls for his resignation since a state of emergency was declared in the fall, also said his office is cooperating fully with the probe.

Schuette also said the two MDEQ employees “misled federal and local authorities, regulatory officials, and failed to provide safe and clean water to families of Flint“.

Auston Healy, a 26-year-old worker from Flint told the WSWS, “It’s a bum deal”. For decades, the once-thriving industrial city bought its water from Detroit.

He did not rule out that Gov. Rick Snyder (R) could face charges. The result: Lead was released from aging pipes and fixtures as water flowed throughout the city of 100,000 residents.

Michael Glasgow, city of Flint laboratory and water quality supervisor (one felony, one misdemeanor). The result of this action exposed Flintresidents to toxic lead-poisoning, Legionnaire’s disease and E. Coli.

The task force faulted a wide range of officials in its report. “Indeed, they failed us all”, Schuette said of the men charged. “The people of Flint deserve accountability for the actions of Governor Snyder and his officials that caused this crisis”.

Two years ago, Flint Michigan switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River, just to save a buck on water bills.

The indictments are part of a state investigation regarding an April 2014 switch of water sources in Flint. To this day serious reconstruction work on Flint’s piping system has not begun.

A General Motors engine plant stops using Flint water, saying it rusts parts. When asked how testers could be sure they were getting samples from homes with lead lines, he essentially said there was no way to be sure.

Kim Earnest

The author Kim Earnest

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