WNDU: Michigan Senator Gary Peters weighs in on Flint crisis
Michigan Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) has had a busy few days in Washington.
He's met with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, and he met with the Department of Health and Human Services to try to get federal funding for the city.
Peters is bracing for the duration.
"This is going to be a long-term response," he says. "This is something that's going to be many years -- really decades -- to deal with."
After meetings with health care experts in Washington, a team including President Obama decided to send Dr. Nicole Lurie to the front lines of Flint.
"She's there today and will be back on a regular basis, and also there are two health corps officers being assigned to be in Flint full time," Peters says.
Lurie will help coordinate the federal response, but Peters says it's ultimately the state's job.
"My view is if you break it you have to fix it," Peters says. "This is a state responsibility, this is a moral responsibility."
At the center of it all is Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. The Department of Justice and the state's attorney announced they'll be conducting an investigation into any possible wrongdoings, including overlooking the problem for campaign purposes.
When asked whether he thinks Snyder should resign, Peters said he wants to see what the investigations determine.
"I think if the evidence is there, it will speak for itself," he explains.
Peters says he's extremely frustrated that the governor hasn't offered not only to pay for water for Flint residents going forward until this is all fixed, but also to refund them for the poisonous water they had been paying for.
From U.S. Senator Gary Peters:
Washington, D.C. -U.S. Senator Gary Peters issued the following statements regarding recent developments related to the water crisis in Flint.
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it had issued a Safe Drinking Water Act emergency order for Flint. In its announcement, the EPA also outlined additional actions for the State of Michigan to comply with federal standards, as well as internal actions the agency is taking to improve its future response to similar situations.
“For months, the State of Michigan and MDEQ failed to take the necessary steps to ensure Flint residents had clean, safe drinking water. I am pleased that the EPA has announced it is stepping in and taking immediate action to protect the public health and increase transparency,” said Senator Peters. “I also applaud Administrator McCarthy’s decision to request an Inspector General evaluation, so we can better understand how EPA could have helped prevent Flint’s water crisis and what they can do to keep this situation from ever happening again. I believe Administrator Hedman’s resignation is an appropriate step in order to allow the community of Flint and its residents to get the help they need and move forward.”
Additionally, in his address to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, President Obama said he would be releasing $80 million in funding for the State of Michigan that was approved by Congress last December. Peters voted for the bipartisan budget agreement that included the money.
“I am grateful that the President has been personally engaged in helping Flint recover from this catastrophe and supportive of our request for federal assistance,” said Peters. “I am pleased that the Administration is quickly releasing funds approved by Congress to help the State of Michigan improve its water infrastructure.”
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