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Michigan Fights Order to Deliver Bottled Water to Flint Residents After Lead Poisoning Disaster

Published: November 18, 2016
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Source: Detroit News

A federal court order requiring Michigan and Flint to deliver bottled water to all city residents without a verified filter at their home places is unnecessary and places an “insurmountable” burden on state government, the Snyder administration argued in a motion seeking relief.

Snyder officials argued the court order would require a “Herculean effort” equivalent to a large-scale military operation and cost the state at least $10.45 million a month, or $125 million annually. For about a year, Flint’s residents have been advised against drinking their tap water without a filter due to dangerously high lead levels.

Attorneys for Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri and the Flint Receivership Transition Advisory Board on Thursday asked U.S. Circuit Judge David M. Lawson to “stay” his order from last week while the state prepares an appeal.

In a 37-page opinion, Lawson ordered home delivery of four cases of water per resident each week unless state and city officials can verify each resident has a properly installed and maintained faucet water filter. The delivery order “increases the scope of the State’s emergency response to an unnecessary and insurmountable degree, particularly in light of the injunction’s time constraints,” attorneys wrote.

“The required injunction far exceeds what is necessary to ensure Flint residents have access to safe drinking water,” the lawyers wrote, arguing Khouri and the state advisory board lack the authority to ensure compliance with an order that could cost Michigan taxpayers “millions of dollars.”

Michigan Democratic Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, criticized the Snyder administration’s appeal.

“If the governor had made a Herculean effort to address this crisis from the start, they wouldn’t need to continue this legal maneuvering,” Ananich said in a Thursday statement, referring to the three months that passed between the acknowledgment of elevated lead levels and a January state emergency declaration.

 

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