Michigan sues Flint for not approving water deal

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FLINT (WJRT) - (06/28/17) - The city of Flint is endangering the health of its residents by not having a long term source of water - that's the basis of a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday against the city by the Michigan DEQ.

The DEQ says the city is in violation of the Safe Water Drinking Act. It wants the Great Lakes Water Authority, which currently supplies the city's water, to be the long-term provider. That's what Mayor Karen Weaver has been pushing for.

Weaver issued a statement about the lawsuit that reads, in part, "I cannot say that I am surprised. We were notified that legal action would be a consequence of council choosing not to meet the requirements set before them."

On Monday, the Flint city council failed to approve a long-term contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority. The council instead approved a short-term extension of its contract with the GLWA, good until Sept. 30.

"The city council should have spent more time reviewing the proposed 30-year plan of the mayor. She did her job," said Eric Mays, Flint City Council member.

In the lawsuit, the DEQ says the city council's failure to act will cause an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health in Flint.

"I hope this makes my colleagues buckle down and get to business," Mays said.

The DEQ also says a three-month delay will cost more than $1.8 million extra for Flint, compared to the long-term deal.

"It's indicative of how the state works when they want something. I really don't believe this is the way you do a city in crisis. I don't think you take them to court," said Herb Winfrey, Flint City Council member.

Commenting on the federal lawsuit, Governor Rick Snyder says he supports Weaver's recommendation. He says, in part, "The city is well on its way to a full recovery, and to hinder that progress now would be a major and costly setback for residents."

ABC12 News reached out to a number of city council members and they said the lawsuit wasn't a surprise.

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