Governor talks about Flint water plan, local pastors not happy with details

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FLINT (WJRT) - (10/02/15) - Governor Rick Snyder said the steps outlined Friday in Flint show the government's commitment to making sure residents have safe water at the tap, but a group of concerned pastors and protesters called the state's action plan a slap in the face.

"No more lies," one protester said, while standing outside the Kettering University building where members from the state's Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Environmental Quality and other agencies held a news conference.

Angry chants awaited those leaders as they left the city.

"We're paying big bucks every month for water we can't even use," said Flint resident Keith Pemberton. "That's not American. That's not emocratic."

Flint resident Carrie Younger Nelson said elected leaders from the top-down need to be recalled over the problems with Flint's water system.

"They know that the water is bad," Nelson said. "I don't know why they're messing with our lives. I don't know why they're still collecting our money for the water, and then they don't want to give us what we need. It's not something we want. It's something we need."

The Concerned Pastors for Social Action met with the governor's staff Thursday in Lansing. They called for an immediate return to Detroit water. They were disappointed in the state's action plan.

"Today is absolutely awful. I mean, I feel like I'm in a New Orleans and a Hurricane Katrina," said Pastor Allen Overton, a member of the Concerned Pastors group. "They continue to perpetuate and just continue to just shift and shift and shift while our children are suffering, suffering, suffering."

Snyder wasn't at Friday's news conference, but he spoke to reporters earlier in the day about Flint's water worries.

Snyder said water from the Flint River is safe at the plant level, but he admitted there's a risk for lead exposure once that water travels through both public and private pipes.

"We're going to commit to working with the city to address a long-term acceleration of water system improvement to address the replacement of lead service lines," Snyder said.

That's one part of a series of steps outline by state leaders.

Snyder also acknowledged research showing elevated lead levels in children, and said that's why he's called for more testing.

Pastor Alfred Harris, a member of the Concerned Pastors group, said all of this talk comes too late. Harris said going back to Detroit Water is the best option.

The governor said it's something that's still being explored.

"As far as we are into this process, I think to hear it's on the table is no reason for us to celebrate," Harris said. "They are trivializing the research that has been done."

The Concerned Pastors said they plan to meet soon to determine their next steps.

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