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Michigan governor, EPA chief to testify on Flint

Michigan governor, EPA chief to testify on Flint
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The House Oversight Committee will hear testimony from Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyEPA halts planned Taiwan trip for Wheeler OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump replaces head of energy regulatory commission | Biden climate agenda would slam into Senate GOP roadblocks | Emails show Park Police reliance on pepper balls, outside police forces during Lafayette protests MORE during an upcoming hearing on the water crisis in Flint, Mich. 

The hearing — which has yet to be scheduled — will likely focus on top officials' roles in precipitating and responding to the crisis in Flint, where corroded water pipes have caused increased lead levels in drinking water. 

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Democrats have long hoped to probe Snyder’s role in the incident, with members of the Oversight panel saying he should have been called to testify at a hearing earlier this month. A Snyder appointee made the decision to switch Flint’s drinking water supply as a cost-savings measure, and the state’s overall response to the growing crisis there has been roundly criticized. 

The Environmental Protection Agency, meanwhile, has taken fire for knowing about the dangers presented by Flint’s drinking water well before the public did. The agency has said it did as much as it could to respond to the crisis by informing officials about their research, but lawmakers have said the agency should have done more. 

Several other key players in the Flint saga — including Susan Hedman, the former regional head of the EPA, and Darnell Earley, Snyder’s former emergency manager for the city — will testify before the Oversight Committee. Snyder and McCarthy will testify on the same panel when the hearing takes place.

"We appreciate Gov. Snyder's willingness to appear before the Committee and look forward to hearing from EPA Administrator McCarthy as well,” Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzThe myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records MORE (R-Utah) said. 

“Their perspectives on this issue are important as we seek to ensure a crisis of this magnitude never occurs in another American city. The diverse and insightful panel of witnesses assembled will shed light on many of  our remaining questions and help us propose reforms to the authorizing committees."

Snyder said on Friday that he requested the chance to testify before Chaffetz’s panel, which held a Flint hearing with lower-level officials in early February. That hearing yielded little new information about the crisis.

“In Michigan we are learning a great deal from this crisis and I am hopeful the federal government also will use this as an opportunity to examine health and safety protections in place, assess infrastructure needs, and avoid this type of crisis in the future,” Snyder said in a statement.