FBI Joins Investigation Of Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder Over Flint Water Crisis

After months of people calling for the arrest of Michigan’s governor Rick Snyder, the FBI is now getting involved with the ongoing criminal investigation into Snyder’s possible culpability in the Flint water crisis.

Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, told Reuters that Michigan prosecutors will be “working with a multi-agency investigation team on the Flint water contamination matter, including the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General … and the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.”

In April 2014, Flint’s emergency manager forced the city to switch from using Detroit’s water system to using the Flint River for water. The decision to do so was touted as a means to cut costs for the city. It turned out to be a disaster. There is an unusual amount of salt in the Flint River. The river is also extremely contaminated. So when the salt began to corrode the pipes of Flint’s water system, lead leaked into people’s drinking water.

One study found the pipe corrosion problem could have been solved for as little as $100 a day. Now it is estimated that it will cost up to $1.5 billion dollars to fix Flint’s water system. There is legislation crawling through Congress that would provide Flint $600 million dollars to help repair Flint’s water system.

There has been massive outcry over the water system transition since day one. When evidence was shown that Flint’s water had become contaminated, Snyder and the emergency manager choose not to act.

The news that the FBI will be joining the investigation into the Snyder administration comes just one day before central figures are scheduled to testify before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The Detroit News reports:

“Former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley may refuse to testify before a U.S. House hearing Wednesday on the lead contamination of Flint’s water supply, according to two congressional sources.

Earley, the current emergency manager of financially ailing Detroit Public Schools, oversaw Flint when the decision was made in April 2014 to switch the city’s drinking water supply to the Flint River.

The other officials are Joel Beauvais, acting deputy assistant administrator of the Office of Water at the EPA; Miguel Del Toral, a water expert for the EPA’s Midwest Region 5 Water Division; and Marc Edwards, professor of environmental and water resources engineering at Virginia Tech University, who discovered high lead levels in Flint’s water.”

The FBI has not yet made a public comment on what federal laws the Snyder administration may have broken.

One thing is for certain, Snyder and his cronies are not going to get themselves out of this mess with a slick public relations scheme. They seem to think differently, as Snyder recently hired two PR firms. People are calling for Snyder’s arrest and this move from the FBI sends another signal that they might just get their way.


Featured Image Credit: Michigan Municipal League via Flickr