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Governor And Flint Mayor Talk Over Water Problems

Jan 8, 2016

Downtown Flint
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Governor Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver huddled in his office to discuss the city’s water crisis, and the state’s role in solving a problem it helped create.


“This is a situation that no one wishes had happened,” the governor said following the meeting. “But it has happened, and we want to be open and honest and address it.”  A decision made under state-appointed emergency managers to save money by using the Flint River for drinking water damaged pipes and caused lead to leach into the water.

Following the meeting, Governor Snyder publicly apologized for a second time for the state’s role in Flint’s water crisis:   “We want to work closely together to earn the trust of the people of Flint.”  

The governor declared a state of emergency in Flint this week, which could eventually help the city get federal money.  He also says he wants more decision-making to rest with Flint’s elected leaders following four years of state control over the city.  "That’s a good start," says Weaver.  “We’re working together to move things forward, and we’re going to be putting some things in place.  And this is good,” she says. “This is a great day for the citizens of Flint, and I know they’re excited to hear this news.”

But Weaver says Flint has 500 miles of old, iron pipe to replace.  She says early estimates of the cost to replace all of it go as high as $1.5 billion.  The governor says he’s not ready to put a cost estimate on fixing Flint’s problems, or what the state’s contribution might be.  But administration officials say there’s no doubt the Legislature will be asked to approve more money to fix Flint’s troubles.  

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org