Tuesday marks day 1,299 that the people of Flint, Mich., have been without clean water. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Meanwhile, the advisory committee appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to address public health concerns related to the lead-contaminated water crisis has canceled its fourth consecutive meeting because it doesn’t believe there is anything to discuss.
MLive-Flint Journal reports that members of the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee were sent an email notice that said the Nov. 17 meeting “has been canceled due to no agenda items being received from FWICC members as of [Monday, Nov. 13].”
That email was sent Monday by Stacie Clayton, who works in the Michigan Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives. The director of that office, Harvey Hollins, is also the chairman of the FWICC.
The September meeting of the committee was canceled because of scheduling conflicts, according to the governor’s office, and the committee’s business was supposed to be carried over to the next meeting. The October meeting was subsequently canceled, too.
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According to MLive-Flint Journal, the committee has only met twice since March.
In the meantime, a permanent water solution for the people of Flint continues to be in limbo as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Flint City Council battle it out in federal court over whether or not the city should be forced to sign a 30-year contract to buy water from the Great Lakes Water Authority out of Detroit.
In June the City Council agreed to a short-term contract with GLWA as it worked to find a permanent solution to the city’s water-supply problems.
When the city failed to select a permanent solution by the June 26 deadline set by the state, the state filed a federal lawsuit against the city—alleging that it was endangering public health by not selecting a permanent water source.
That makes it more than a little ironic that the committee that should be meeting to discuss public health concerns related to the water crisis has not met four months in a row.
Last month the Flint City Council asked U.S. District Judge David Lawson for more time to study the city’s long-term water-source options, but Lawson denied that request on Oct. 27. His ruling indicated that if the city does not act, the state will need to go back to court to file a motion that would get the court to enforce an earlier Oct. 23 deadline.
In a court filing earlier in October, the DEQ asked the judge to allow Flint Mayor Karen Weaver—who is in support of the GLWA contract—to sign the contract without regard to the council.
So yes. Still lots of red tape. Still lots of canceled meetings. Still lots of political hand wringing.
Still no clean water.
Read more at MLive-Flint Journal.