News

Michigan To Shell Out Millions to Flint Residents Harmed by Water Crisis

Combined Shape

Michigan will pay $600 million to compensate Flint residents whose health was damaged by lead-tainted drinking water, an attorney involved in the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Details will be released later this week, according to the attorney, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the deal ahead of an official announcement.

It is intended to resolve all legal actions against the state for its role in a disaster that made the impoverished city a nationwide symbol of governmental mismanagement, the attorney said.

The offices of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel have been negotiating for more than 18 months with lawyers for thousands of Flint residents who have filed suits against the state.

Ryan Jarvi, a spokesman for Nessel, declined to confirm the reports of a deal on Wednesday night.

Trending:
US Chamber of Commerce Defies Biden, Calls for Termination of Weekly Unemployment Perk

“We and the other parties are bound by a federal court order to maintain the confidentiality of detailed settlement and mediation communications until we reach a certain point,” Jarvi said.

“We have not yet reached the point where we can discuss a potential settlement.”

Flint switched its water source from the city of Detroit to the Flint River to save money in 2014.

State environmental regulators advised Flint, located about about 70 miles north of Detroit, not to apply corrosion controls to the water, which was contaminated by lead from aging pipes.

Do you think the $600 million settlement is enough?

Residents of the city with a population of nearly 100,000 people quickly began complaining that the water was discolored and had a bad taste and smell.

They blamed it for rashes, hair loss and other health concerns, but local and state officials insisted it was safe.

Researchers with Virginia Tech University reported in summer 2015 that samples of Flint water had abnormally high lead levels.

Shortly afterward, a group of doctors announced that local children had high levels of lead in their blood and urged Flint to stop using water from the river.

Then- Gov. Rick Snyder eventually acknowledged the problem, accepted the resignation of his environmental chief and pledged to aid the city, which resumed using Detroit water.

Related:
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Named 'Courage' Award Honoree for Instituting Lockdown

Residents used bottled water for drinking and household needs for more than a year. Researchers said in late 2016 that lead was no longer detectable in many homes.

Lawsuits against the state are being overseen by U.S. District Judge Judith Levy, who would have to approve the settlement.

Under the deal, the state would establish a $600 million fund and Flint residents could file claims for compensation.

The amount awarded per applicant would be based on how badly they were harmed, the attorney told the AP.

It calls for devoting 80 percent of the money to people who were under age 18 during the period when Flint was using contaminated water, the attorney said.

If approved, the settlement would push state spending on the Flint water crisis to over $1 billion. Michigan already has pumped more than $400 million into replacing water pipes, purchasing filters and bottled water, children’s health care and other assistance.

Other suits are pending against Flint, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and private consultants who advised the city on water issues.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →






We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , ,
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation