Michigan to pay $600M to victims of Flint water crisis
The state of Michigan will pay out about $600 million to victims of the contamination of Flint’s tap water, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The bulk of the money will be designated for children poisoned by the lead-contaminated water supply, according to the Times, citing two people with knowledge of the settlement. While further details of the settlement were not released, tens of thousands of Flint residents are expected to be eligible to receive part of it. The amount of individual payouts will hinge on the degree of injury to residents, according to the Times.
Officials and lawyers representing the victims have negotiated for more than 18 months. The water crisis began in 2014 after city officials, under the leadership of a state-appointed emergency manager, changed the source of the city’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Lack of safety precautions led to chemicals and lead leaching into the water through corroded pipes.
While the water source has since been switched back to Lake Huron, residents of the city continue to cook with and drink bottled water in many cases, and the necessary pipe repairs are still incomplete. The line replacement was initially projected to be completed by January, but was paused in the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Sheldon Neeley (D) said last week the replacement process was nearly complete.
Thousands of residents have sued the state. Former Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and retired Judge Pamela Harwood of the Wayne County Circuit Court have mediated the ongoing battle over the crisis. Under the final settlement, which must still be approved by a judge, anyone who lived in Flint would be eligible for a payout. The state is expected to begin paying out the settlement beginning next spring, according to the Times.
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