Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

FBI Joins Flint Drinking Water Investigation

Health + Wellness

The FBI is joining the investigation into the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported on Monday.

Gina Balaya, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, told the Detroit Free Press that federal prosecutors are "working with a multi-agency investigation team on the Flint water contamination matter, including the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Inspector General and EPA's Criminal Investigation Division."

The crisis became public last October after high levels of lead were detected in Flint children's blood. Photo credit: Detroit Free Press

Balaya did not specify whether the inquiry was civil or criminal, but announced the FBI's involvement late Monday in response to a concern over the EPA leading the investigation when the agency had been criticized for its response to the crisis.

As Common Dreams has previously reported, the EPA's region 5 office knew as early as April 2015 that Flint's public drinking water was contaminated with high levels of toxins, particularly lead. The EPA's regional director stepped down in late January.

The office of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder became aware of the problem at least as early as February 2015, less than a year after Flint officials switched the city's water supply from Lake Huron, which is treated by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, to the polluted and corrosive Flint River. Included within more than 250 pages of emails between high level state government officials, released last month, is a background memo that "dismissed the pleas of Flint's then-mayor Dayne Walling for state assistance, saying that the mayor had 'seized on public panic … to ask the state for loan forgiveness and more money for infrastructure improvement.'"

The crisis became public last October after high levels of lead were detected in Flint children's blood.

Balaya's announcement also comes just as the U.S. House Oversight Committee prepares to hold its first hearing on the crisis Wednesday. Former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley has reportedly been asked to testify, but is expected to decline.

Earley has reportedly stepped down as emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE 

14 Cases to 4 Million: 10 Things You Should Know About Zika Virus

Cancer Prevention Needs Attention Too: What if We Weren’t Exposed to 80,000 Toxic Chemicals Every Day?

Michael Moore: 10 Things They Won’t Tell You About the Flint Water Tragedy, But I Will

Erin Brockovich to Stephen Colbert: ‘Flint, Michigan Is the Tip of the Iceberg’

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The CDC has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Guido Mieth / Moment / Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective measures we can take in preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, millions of Americans in some of the most vulnerable communities face the prospect of having their water shut off during the lockdowns, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
A California newt (Taricha torosa) from Napa County, California, USA. Connor Long / CC BY-SA 3.0

Aerial photos of the Sierra Nevada — the long mountain range stretching down the spine of California — showed rust-colored swathes following the state's record-breaking five-year drought that ended in 2016. The 100 million dead trees were one of the most visible examples of the ecological toll the drought had wrought.

Now, a few years later, we're starting to learn about how smaller, less noticeable species were affected.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market.
Natthawat / Moment / Getty Images

Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market, raising concerns for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which threatened legal recourse against retailers selling unregistered products, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
A customer packs groceries in reusable bags at a NYC supermarket on March 1, 2020. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown our daily routine into disarray. Billions are housebound, social contact is off-limits and an invisible virus makes up look at the outside world with suspicion. No surprise, then, that sustainability and the climate movement aren't exactly a priority for many these days.

Read More Show Less
Ingredients are displayed for the Old School Pinto Beans from the Decolonize Your Diet cookbook by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel. Melissa Renwick / Toronto Star via Getty Images

By Molly Matthews Multedo

Livestock farming contributes to global warming, so eating less meat can be better for the climate.

Read More Show Less