By Bradford Richardson - 01/16/16 03:51 PM EST
Obama declares federal state of emergency over Michigan water crisis
President Obama on Saturday declared a state of emergency in Flint, Mich., granting the state federal resources amid the city’s water contamination crisis.
The authorization comes in response to a request by Gov. Rick Snyder (R) on Thursday for federal emergency designation in order to help “protect the health, safety and welfare of Flint residents.”
The action authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency “to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population” in Genesee County, which is home to Flint, the White House said.
“This emergency assistance is to provide water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits, and other necessary related items for a period of no more than 90 days,” the statement said.
Snyder also requested federal major disaster designation, which would grant the city millions of federal dollars to rebuild its aging infrastructure. That request was denied, FEMA said.
The crisis started in April 2014 after the city switched water sources from the Detroit system’s to the Flint River in an effort to save money.
Authorities said that lead has been leaking into the water supply from rusted pipes since then.
Snyder declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard on Tuesday to assist with passing out water, filters and other supplies to affected citizens.
- Updated at 4:21 p.m.