Flint residents raise concerns with $641.2 million water crisis settlement proposal

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 7:55 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Flint residents are speaking up with concerns over the proposed $641.2 million water crisis legal settlement before a federal judge approves it -- likely later this month.

A group of concerned residents held a press conference Monday outlining why they don’t think the proposed agreement is fair.

About 80% of the settlement fund would go toward young children who suffered lead poisoning during the Flint water crisis beginning in April 2014.

Less than 20% of the settlement dollars will be spent on claims from adults and for property damage. That disproportion and what concerned residents consider hurdles to receiving the highest amount of money available prompted a group to speak up.

”We think everyone ought to receive some type of disbursement for their suffering,” said pastor Herbert Miller of Metropolitan Baptist Church.

Pastor John McClane of Greater Destiny Ministries read a list what he called “corrective measures” to the proposed $641.2 million settlement.

“We believe that the proposed settlement, as currently allocated, is just as disrespectful as the injury caused by the water crisis tragedy itself,” he said.

The group of pastors, community activists and residents is asking U.S. District Judge Judith Levy to implement them before granting her preliminary approval.

Among their requests, they’d like to see:

  • More money allocated to Flint homeowners for property damage and high water bills for unusable water.
  • A waiver saying anyone can sue down the line if an illness or injury shows up in the future.
  • The ability for kids and adults to get silicone bone lead testing.

“What happens in Flint is that, whenever the community finally finds out the details of anything that we don’t agree with, it’s in the fourth quarter,” Miller said.

He isn’t confident future money added to the settlement fund from the EPA, other engineering firms and financial institutions accused of wrongdoing in the Flint water crisis will be equally allocated either.

“We believe that those coming lawsuits are going to use this as a template for what they’ll do with their settlements,” he said.

To make their voices heard, this group has planned a protest for Thursday afternoon outside the federal courthouse in Ann Arbor, where Levy’s chambers are located. They plan to hand deliver a press release detailing their requests to her.

In a hearing last month, Levy said she will take the time to listen to Flint residents, but that comes after she makes her preliminary decision. If she approves the proposed settlement, the judge said she’ll schedule time to hear testimony from anyone who would be considered a claimant.

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