Gov. Snyder's top aides warned of Flint water problems, emails show

Gov. Snyder's top aides warned of Flint water problems, emails show
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Top advisers for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) asked the state to switch Flint, Mich.’s water supply back to Detroit’s water system as early as October 2014, emails show. 

Snyder’s environmental policy adviser, Valerie Brader, asked the governor’s office to make the switch on Oct. 14, 2014, after General Motors said it would stop using Flint’s corrosive river water.


The governor’s chief legal counsel concurred in a message to three top Snyder officials, but the state didn't make the switch until a year later, emails released to the Detroit News this week show. 

“To anyone who grew up in Flint as I did, the notion that I would be getting my drinking water from the Flint River is downright scary,” Mike Gadola, the governor’s then-legal counsel, wrote in one email. “Too bad the [emergency manager] didn’t ask me what I thought, though I’m sure he heard it from plenty of others.”

Officials in Flint, led by a Snyder-appointed emergency manager, switched the city's water supply from the Detroit municipal system to the Flint River in April 2014 as a way to cut costs. 

Water problems developed later that year. By August, the city had issued boil-water advisories due to bacteria found in the water supply. GM said in October that its Flint plant would stop using the local water because it was corroding engine parts. 

Brader and Gadola raised their concerns over Flint’s water around that time, the Detroit News reported, but no one ever recommended to Snyder himself that Flint switch back to the Detroit system until the following year. 

“I certainly was never in a meeting with him, nor did I raise what I wrote in that email,” Brader told the News. 

Snyder’s chief of staff told the paper that there’s “a series of dots that weren’t connected” when it comes to Flint’s problems. 

“This angers me when I look at all of this — there’s all these bits and pieces and it’s all not getting put together,” Jarrod Agen told The Detroit News.

The report comes after Snyder’s office this week related 1,600 pages of emails related to the Flint water crisis. An earlier batch of emails showed Snyder’s staff looking to determine who was responsible for cleaning up Flint’s water supply.

Officials on the state and federal level are probing the problems in Flint, where lead levels in the drinking water have greatly exceeded safe levels. 

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