Early this month, the Flint City Council delayed the approval of a short-term Flint water contract that would ensure the residents of Flint continued access to clean water. This has led the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to take matters into their own hands.
Heidi Grether, the director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, stated that if the city fails to either approve or deny a 30-year contract for the delivery of safe water, that it will be forced to go to the courts seeking a financial damages on behalf of Flint's residents.
"It is, unfortunately, necessary to threaten this action to make sure that Flint citizens are able to continue to receive a reliable source of drinking water," Grether said according to M Live. "The department continues its commitment to work with the city to ensure it has safe drinking water going forward."
The city of Flint has until June 30 to figure out whether or not it will be accepting the contract. MDEQ says that if there is no plan by then, that it will be marching straight to the state attorney general's office to get him to take legal action.So what is up with the delay? Why can't the city get itself together?
Faced with MDEQ's anger, city council members were quick to point fingers, arguing that no one had given them information about the contract, and that they couldn't possibly look into the matter for themselves."For months, members of council have complained that the Weaver administration has shut us out of the information that by law they are required to provide," said Councilwoman Kate Fields in a letter sent to the Environmental Protection Agency obtained by M Live.
The letter detailed allegations that Mayor Karen Weaver neglected to provide the council with data vital to deliberations prior to voting on a new contract.
On June 12, council members voted to request an extension on the short-term water contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority. As of now, everyone in Flint is drinking pre-treated water; obviously this isn't financially or environmentally sustainable, and so this long-term contract for water services is sorely needed.
The deadline for the approval of the contract is the end of June. Hopefully the city figures out how to get its citizens water before then.