Here's what's in the big Flint water settlement
- Author: Zachary Reyes Mar 30, 2017,
Mar 30, 2017, 18:56
A USA district judge in Detroit approved a settlement in a lawsuit on Tuesday, freeing up nearly $100 million in state money to tear out lead or galvanized-steel water lines leading to at least 18,000 Flint homes by January 1, 2020.
"The proposed agreement is a significant step forward for the Flint community, covering a number of critical issues related to water safety", said Dimple Chaudhary, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is among the environmental and civil rights groups behind the lawsuit. Instead of having water delivered door-to-door to homes not be verified to have water filters while roughly 18,000 pipelines were replaced, the state will be required to operate nine water distribution centers where Flint residents may pick up bottled water.
The settlement also identifies several health services and programs that will continue being provided to Flint residents such as, expanded Medicaid services for pregnant women and children under 21 through March 2021.
More than a dozen state and local officials have been charged with crimes in connection with the water crisis. The state has also set aside a $10 million dollar buffer for "unexpected expenses", putting the amount almost equal to the $100 million set aside by the EPA following former President Obama's legislation in December. There's no word on when actual construction efforts will begin to replace the pipes.
On Tuesday, federal Judge David Lawson will listen to lawyers representing Flint, the state and residents who sued.
Residents who get new water lines will be urged to continue using a filter for six months. The city, under the control of state-appointed financial managers, tapped the Flint River while a new pipeline was being built to Lake Huron, but the water wasn't treated to reduce corrosion.
After the switch, Flint's water supply was contaminated by lead, causing the water to take on a murky brown color. Following the public outcry, Flint switched back to the Detroit water source in October 2015.
Charlie Langton: "Did Governor Snyder make amends to the people of Flint?"
A story by the right-wing partisan website The Red Elephants is headlined, "Trump's EPA sending $100 million to Flint to fix water - something Obama refused to do".
"But a high bar has been set in terms of a standard before people are told to drink the water without filters", he said.
Late a year ago, Judge Lawson issued an injunction requiring the delivery of bottled water to any home that did not have an operating, properly-installed water filter.