Plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to a court order requiring delivery of bottled water to residents of Flint, Mich., filed an emergency motion Wednesday to force the state of Michigan and the city of Flint to comply with the order.
Neither the city nor the state has complied with the court order that mandates 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.
The state of Michigan filed a motion last month asking to be relieved of the duty, calling it an “unnecessary” and “insurmountable burden,” and the city of Flint joined that fight earlier this month, saying that it “lacks the resources required to comply.”
Concerned Pastors for Social Action and other plaintiffs involved in the case filed the emergency motion Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press reports, and U.S. District Judge David Lawson, who is handling the case, ordered the city and state to respond by Friday.
“The state and city’s dislike for a federal court order does not give them license to ignore it,” Henry Henderson, director of the Midwest program for the Natural Resources Defense Council, another plaintiff in the case, said. “It is winter in Flint, and tracking down drinking water in the bone-chilling cold makes life harder for all. We’re asking the court to take emergency action to ensure safe water is available for every person in Flint, immediately."
According to the Free Press, state officials said in a recent court filing that the order should be revoked because lead levels in Flint’s tap water now meet or exceed federal safety guidelines, and yet state officials also continue to tell residents not to drink the tap water without a filter.
A spokeswoman for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Anna Heaton, told the Free Press that the state is not dragging its feet on water delivery. She said that state residents have visited more than 13,000 homes since the judge’s order was issued, installing filters and educating residents.
Heaton said that requests for bottled water and filter delivery are met within 24 hours, and nine distribution centers are open, where residents can go to pick up free water.
"We continue to work toward compliance with Judge Lawson’s order," Heaton said Wednesday. "The state does not currently possess the network necessary to immediately provide bottled-water delivery to each household."
Read more at the Detroit Free Press.