17:31 GMT29 November 2020
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    A document released on Wednesday revealed that Michigan restricted the city of Flint from switching water sources in April unless Governor Rick Snyder’s office approved a $7 million loan to help the city switch to state management -- effectively tying the city’s hands.

    It would be another six months before Flint’s water would be switched back to a Detroit-area system from the corrosive and poisoned water they were being provided with. In the meantime, Darrell Early, the state-appointed emergency manager at the time, claimed that switching the water source would cost the city more than $1 million a month, and that "water from Detroit is no safer than Flint water."

    The document was obtained by the state’s Democratic party through a public records request, and also revealed that the loan agreement prohibited the city from lowering the cost of water and sewage services unless it was specifically authorized by the state.

    "The Snyder administration effectively put a financial gun to the heads of Flint's families by using the emergency manager law to lock the city into taking water from a poisoned source," party chairman Brandon Dillon said.

    One month prior to the loan agreement being made, Snyder's aides were notified by a state official about the spike in Legionnaires' disease, which has killed 10 people in the area since Flint’s water source was switched from Detroit to the corrosive water of the Flint River.

    Snyder maintains that he was unaware of the toxicity of Flint’s water until health officials confirmed the elevated levels of lead in the blood of the city’s children on October 1.

    A review of 550 emails released last month, however, found that aides close to Snyder and his lawyers were voicing concerns over the polluted water in Flint a full year before the city switched back.

    The poisoning of Flint water began in April 2014, when the city stopped receiving its supply from Detroit, instead shifting to water taken directly from the Flint River, a source known to have a high corrosive salt content. Corrosive salts in the water damaged the pipes, which contain lead, causing that material to be released into the water, and contaminating it.

    The EPA has found Flint tap water was contaminated enough to be considered “toxic waste.”

    The chorus of calls for Snyder to resign over his role in the poisoning of the city is coming not only from residents and activists, but his fellow politicians as well.

    “Given the actions of negligence and indifference by the governor, and a culture he has created that lacks transparency and accountability, the very serious call for resignation is warranted," House Minority Leader Tim Greimel stated.

    The FBI has joined the US Postal Inspection Service, the US Environmental Protection Agency's Office of the Inspector General, and the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, into the wide-ranging criminal probe of the Flint water crisis, to determine which laws were broken and who broke them.


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