Gov. Snyder, EPA chief testify in front of Congress

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJRT) - (03/17/16) - All eyes and ears were on our nation's capital while Governor Rick Snyder and Environmental Protection Agency Chief Gina McCarthy testified in front of Congress for several hours on Thursday.

There was a long line outside the committee room, as people came from all over looking for answers about the ongoing Flint water emergency. Many have been waiting for the day when Snyder would appear in front of members of congress to hopefully answer some of those questions.

Snyder and McCarthy were sitting right next to each other and putting the blame on one another. They were questioned repeatedly about when they first became aware of the lead levels in Flint's water.

In his testimony, Snyder called the water crisis in Flint "a failure of government at all levels", but he pointed to the Michigan Department of Environmental Equality for repeatedly assuring him and others that the water was safe, when in fact, it was not.

“Inefficient, ineffective, and unaccountable bureaucrats at the EPA allowed this disaster to continue unnecessarily,” Snyder said. "A water expert at the federal EPA tried to raise an alarm and he was silenced. It was on Oct. 1 2015 that I learned state experts were wrong. Flint water had dangerous levels of lead. On that day, I took immediate action.”

McCarthy said the state gave the EPA confusing information.

“The state of Michigan approved that decision without requiring corrosion control treatment,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy did not take much responsibility for her department's role, only saying the EPA would have done more had it had the correct information.

“Did the EPA do anything wrong?" U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz asked McCarthy.

"The EPA worked very hard. Let me make..."McCarthy said.

"No, no, no,” Chaffetz said.

Snyder admitted his Emergency Manager law failed the city.

“Emergency management system fail under your leadership. In this instance?" U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman said to Snyder.

"In this instance, it would be under the case as I have - you wish they would've asked more questions,” Snyder said.

Snyder did however have an opportunity to layout the work to fix Flint's water issues.

“A total of $232 million to help address issues in Flint. Covering all areas, from the water system and infrastructure to nutrition to health to well-being,” Snyder said.

After hours of testimony, in the end, the lawmakers on both sides believe Snyder and McCarthy should take the ultimate action for their role in the Flint water crisis.

“If you're going to do the courageous thing, then you too should step down,” Chaffetz said to McCarthy.

"I'm not buying that you didn't know any of this until October 2015. You were not in a medically induced coma for a year. I've had enough of your false contrition and phony apologies. People who put dollars over the fundamental safety of the people do not belong in government. You need to resign too, Governor Snyder," said Pennsylvania Congressman Matt Cartwright.

As of now, neither have no plans to do so. In fact, the Governor said he'll be back in Flint on Friday to continue work on the water crisis.

This was the third hearing on the Flint water crisis, and there's really not a lot of action that can be taken right now.

However, there is a list of people - about 15 - connected to the governor's office that the committee said they would like to hear from. So it's possible these oversight hearings will pick back up again over the next few weeks, but the main one they wanted was Thursday with Snyder.



 
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