The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chaired by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT, held hearings today on the Flint, Michigan drinking water contamination crisis. The hearings were broadcast on C-SPAN 3. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and Regina “Gina” McCarthy, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, gave testimony.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Snyder initially refused to appear in front of the House Committee in February.
Most of the contentious hearing focused on questions and answers about where the blame for the crisis should be placed. Snyder and McCarthy took turns blaming one another. Very little of the hearing focused on the solutions for the water crisis in Flint.
One exchange between Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Snyder drew gasps from the audience and a look of incredulity from McCarthy. See the exchange below.
Rep. Matt Cartwright took Snyder to task for failures to react quickly when Snyder received a letter from Flint Mayor Dayne Walling in January 2015 urging Snyder that “there is nothing more important in Flint right now than fixing the water problems”. In the letter from Walling, he asked Snyder to come to Flint and Rep. Cartwright asserted that Snyder did not go to Flint for 7 months after. See this exchange below.
McCarthy was criticized for failing to update the EPA Lead and Copper rules by many of the Representatives. Rep. Chaffetz asked McCarthy questions about who she has held accountable within the EPA. See the exchange below.
According to Michael Moore, the Flint water crisis began when the Michigan state government switched the drinking water source in Flint from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Snyder’s office was told that an additive would need to be put in the water to seal off the lead pipes at $100 a day for several months, but Snyder failed to do so in an apparent effort to save the state $9,000. Now the crisis will cost billions to clean up, provide follow-up health care for those affected, screening tests for lead contamination in the blood and to change the infrastructure of miles of pipes in the Flint area.