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January 14, 2021
Water

STATEMENT: Public officials indicted for alleged crimes related to the Flint water crisis

Ex-Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and additional former public officials have been indicted for alleged crimes related to the ongoing Flint water crisis. Despite the devastating impact of the water crisis, Snyder faces just two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty.

After more than five years, Flint still does not have clean water and has some of the highest water bills in the country. Most officials and corporations have not been held accountable for their role in the crisis which poisoned Flint residents, including private water corporation Veolia. Corporate emails show that Veolia employees raised concerns internally about Flint’s water and even mentioned the possibility of lead, but the corporation told the city its water was safe.

Flint Rising is a Flint-based water justice organization that has been leading the calls for accountability. Their demands include replacing lead service lines, 100 percent bill reimbursements, and free health and education services for the community. To get in touch with them, please contact Melissa Mays at melissa@wateryoufightingfor.com. Additionally, please see below for a statement from Alissa Weinman, Corporate Accountability Associate Water Campaign Director.

“This is an important step toward justice for Flint residents who have fought for years against racist institutions and emergency management laws to hold those responsible for the city’s water crisis accountable. But make no mistake — Flint is still not fixed. True justice will not be served until all those who were involved and put people’s lives in danger are held to account. This includes private water corporation Veolia, which put profit over public health and recklessly claimed Flint’s water to be safe.

In addition to holding Snyder and others accountable, the state must heed community demands, including those from Flint Rising to replace all lead service lines; reimburse bills residents paid for poisoned water; and fund long-term health and education services for the community.”

Updated statement in light of the charges against former Governor Snyder:

“The residents of Flint have fought for years against racist institutions and emergency management laws to hold those responsible for the poisoning of their children, families, and city accountable. The charges against former Governor Snyder are an insult to Flint residents and amount to little more than a slap on the wrist. At least a dozen people lost their lives, thousands more are facing long-term health impacts, mothers have suffered miscarriages, and an entire city was traumatized by the abuses and abdication of duty by ex-Governor Snyder and others. They, and corporations like Veolia put money over public health and must be held to account.

There is no dollar amount that can fully repair the harm done by Snyder, his administration, and all those who played a role in the crisis. But, fines up to $1,000 don’t even begin to cover it. True accountability and justice must be served to the people of Flint. That starts with holding Snyder and others fully accountable and heeding community demands, including those from community leaders like Flint Rising, to replace all lead service lines; reimburse bills residents paid for poisoned water; and fund long-term health and education services for the community.”