Flint Children Poisoned By Lead
Schuette has captured national headlines for his investigation of the Flint water disaster and the subsequent charging of state and municipal officials for their role in the contamination.
Has your office (the Attorney General) thought about coming in on behalf of the kids?
-U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow
A lawsuit filed in 2016 on behalf of 15 Flint children alleges that Flint Community Schools and the state were not adequately screening kids for lead poisoning and providing them the services they deserve. The school district and state claim they are “doing everything required” and more testing “probably wouldn’t accomplish much.” Attorney General Schuette sided with the school district and state.
U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow: “When I started practicing law, it was not unusual for your (Attorney General) office your predecessor, to take both sides of an important question … Is there any thought that your office is going to come in on behalf of the children in this case?” Unfortunately, Attorney General Schuette has so far refused to take up the cause of Flint’s kids against a state government that has badly failed them.
Included in the charges were the director of the state Department of Health and Human Services and two state-appointed emergency managers.
Schuette additionally has been outspoken that Flint residents shouldn’t have to pay for the contaminated water. “If you can’t drink the water, you shouldn’t be billed for it,” he said.
While his efforts are ensuring some level of accountability to this man-made environmental catastrophe, Schuette’s early inaction and slow response still clouds his eventual involvement. Moreover, the Attorney General’s own record on Flint is not unblemished.
Despite his tough words, his staff approved the City of Flint’s switch of its drinking water source from the Detroit system to the Flint River, which set in motion the lead contamination of the City’s supply. Schuette emphasizes that this was an approval by his office “only to form,” but it still tied the Attorney General to the decision and should have subsequently necessitated his immediate involvement when complaints began — which did not happen.
Schuette waited a year after an initial request from a Flint state lawmaker before beginning a criminal investigation. In fact, on December 22, 2015, the Attorney General’s Office wrote state Representative Sheldon Neeley: “As the Attorney General explained, given the multiple reviews by federal and state agencies, and the pending and potential federal court actions, we do not believe it necessary to conduct an additional investigation.”
Two months later, as the crisis exploded in the media, Schuette reversed himself. The children of Flint deserve better from our state government and Attorney General Schuette has a critical opportunity to do right by Flint’s kids. Join us in urging Attorney General Bill Schuette to take up the fight for Flint’s kids.
Tell Bill Schuette – Stand up for Flint Kids Now!
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Paid for by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters