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Michigan’s Ex-Governor Charged in Flint Water Case

Yesterday, former Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty after a criminal investigation into lead contamination in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water and a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. Both charges are misdemeanors; if convicted, Snyder could be sentenced up to a year in jail and fined $1,000 per charge. The charges are historic, as no sitting or former governor in Michigan has been charged with crimes related to their time in that office before, per the Associated Press. The criminal investigation has lasted five years, and all together, it is estimated to cost the state more than $1 billion, including a separate case and settlement of $600 million settlement with residents over the water crisis. File:Michigan state capitol.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Snyder served as governor from 2011 to 2019 and appointed a manager to run Flint in 2014 after years of municipal financial struggle. The manager decided to switch the Flint water source from water purchased from Detroit to the Flint River. The corrosive river water was not properly treated and caused wide-scale lead release from lead service lines and plumbing. An investigation also found the improperly treated water to be the cause of at least 90 cases of Legionnaires’ disease, resulting in12 deaths.

Flint has returned to using Detroit-supplied water and the federal government also has provided more than $100 million to Flint to replace lead service lines. More than 9,700 lead and galvanized steel service lines have been replaced, and it is estimated fewer than 500 service lines were left to be checked for lead as of early December.