Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less
People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26, 2020. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50% occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas spiked after being one of the first states to begin reopening. SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A never-before-documented frog species has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands and named Phrynopus remotum. Germán Chávez

By Angela Nicoletti

The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.

Read More Show Less