City of Flint Joins State of Mich. in Fight Against Mandatory Water Delivery

Justin Roberson, age 6, and Mychal Adams, 1, wait on a stack of bottled water at a rally where the Rev. Jesse Jackson was speaking about the water crisis at the Heavenly Host Baptist Church in Flint, Mich., Jan. 17, 2016.
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The city of Flint has joined the state of Michigan in the fight against a federal court order requiring door-to-door delivery of bottled water to residents.

Lawyers for the city filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals on Tuesday saying the preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge David M. Lawson is “overbroad,” and “the city lacks the resources required to comply,” MLive reports.


As previously reported on The Root, the state of Michigan filed a motion stating that the water delivery was an “unnecessary” and an “insurmountable burden” that would cost the state at least $10.45 million a month, or $125 million a year.

Because of dangerously high lead levels, residents of Flint have been advised for the last year not to drink water from their taps unless they have a filter. Judge Lawson ordered home delivery of four cases of water per resident each week unless the state or the city can verify that residents have a properly installed and maintained faucet water filter.

According to MLive, state and federal officials say the water quality in Flint is improving but city residents should not drink tap water because of the potential for elevated lead levels.

The city’s filing said that it supports the state’s appeal and that the city, community groups, state and federal-government agencies are already “engaged in a massive recovery effort to address the water crisis, prevent its [recurrence] and protect residents.”


In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, the Natural Resources Defense Council said that the state’s priorities are misdirected in fighting the federal court order.

“The state is spending its time litigating instead of assuring safe water for its residents,” Henry Henderson, the NRDC’s Midwest program director, said.


The Detroit News reports that attorneys for the state have asked the appeals court to issue a decision Wednesday, and Lawson has yet to issue a decision on the state’s request for a stay of his order pending appeal. On Monday, lawyers representing Flint residents urged the appeals court not to block the water-delivery order.

NRDC attorney Sarah Tallman said that 10 months after widespread contamination was discovered in tap water and an emergency was declared, some residents are still struggling to obtain enough clean water to meet their daily needs.


“Winter is approaching, and as temperatures drop, residents’ struggles to hunt down daily drinking water will worsen,” Tallman wrote in her brief. “State officials’ own witness admitted that Flint’s tap water remains unsafe. Any further delay in ensuring adequate access to safe water is too long. A stay should not issue.”

Read more at MLive and the Detroit News.

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