Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Michigan Health Director Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter for Role in Flint Water Crisis

Popular
The crisis became public after high levels of lead were detected in Flint children's blood. Detroit Free Press

Nick Lyon, the head of Michigan's health department, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection to the Flint water crisis. The charges were announced in a Flint court on Wednesday.

Lyon is the highest-ranking official in Gov. Rick Snyder's administration to be charged in state Attorney General Bill Schuette's investigation.


According to the Associated Press and local news outlets, Lyon is accused of failing to alert the public about the area's Legionnaires' disease outbreak that has been tied to Flint River's corrosive water.

Lyon's failure to act resulted in the death of at least one person, 85-year-old Robert Skidmore, authorities said.

There were nearly 100 cases of Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area, including 12 deaths, in 2014 and 2015.

Jeff Seipenko, a special agent with the attorney general, told a judge that Lyon was personally briefed in January 2015 but "took no action to alert the public of a deadly" outbreak until nearly a year later.

Involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Lyon was also charged with misconduct in office.

Flint's water woes started in April 2014, when the city switched its water source from Lake Huron to the nearby and notoriously polluted Flint River.

Dr. Eden Wells, the chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, has also been charged with obstruction of justice and lying to a police officer.

Along with Lyon and Wells, 13 other people have also been charged, including two former emergency managers.

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