tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN February 5, 2016 3:00pm-5:01pm EST
so, what do you say to dr. edwards, who's been requesting information, because as i understand, dr. edwards, if you will help me with this, that you've made requests both of the state and of the feds. who have been more responsive to you, dr. edwards? >> the state of michigan has been very responsive. >> and so, how many documents of what you've requested from the epa have you received to date? >> i'd have to check, but i still have foias outstanding from nine years ago in washington, d.c., that i appealed in 2005 and an attorney from epa just contacted me one month ago about so -- >> nine years. >> nine years. >> let me tell you the trouble i have with this. we have a site in western north carolina called cts. you're familiar with that it, i'm sure, aren't you? >> i have heard about the site. i do not have direct personal knowledge about it. >> i would ask since you're new to the job you get some personal knowledge.
>> yes, sir. >> because we have a recurring theme here. we have unbelievable regulations that come down and then the epa does not enforce their own regulations. there's a problem with that, don't you think? >> oit it's important for epa to enforce its regulations. >> can you share with me your rationale why it would take nine years to answer a foia request from dr. edwards? >> i have no idea. i'm not familiar with the specific request at issue. >> what commitment do we have from you today to get those foia responses answered as it relates to the flint, michigan, issue? >> i will take that back and ensure that it gets -- >> you'll take it back. when can this committee and when can dr. edwards expect a response? is the law clear? >> i believe that the law is clear on the time frames for response. i will take it back and ensure it's a high priority. >> all right, so obviously you prepared for this hearing this
morning. when you were talking about the information that needed to be shared with the people of flint, what was your own internal guidance among your attorneys, a couple i guess are sitting behind you, what did they recommend that you share? because what happens is everybody gets lawyered up and then they do nothing. and i can tell you from a bipartisan standpoint, this republican from western north carolina is going to work from -- with democrats from michigan to make sure that not only you're held accountable but the state is held accountable and all those who have been involved in this are held accountable because we've got children. it could have been my children in flint, michigan, and i'm not going to forget that. could have been your children. so, what kind of commitment do we have from you to get the documents to this committee so that we can figure out who's to blame? >> my understanding is that
there have been discussions between the committee staff and the agency and that a commitment has been made to work expeditiously to get unredacted copies of certain foia documents that released as well as documents related to the committ committee's request. >> do you believe that 60 days is enough time? >> my understanding is the agency has agreed to provide some documents that we can provide by the end of this week. >> very good. i yield back. >> thank you to the gentleman. we'll now recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. cartwright, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to associate myself with the remarks of the ranking member, mr. cummings. and not to put too fine a point on it, we have what we see here is the responsible, the culpable party being caught red-handed, so red handed that he had to admit his blame and apologize to the nation and to flint. this governor of michigan and his emergency manager, hand
picked, to save money. in keeping with his philosophy of government, to save money on infrastructure at the expense of public safety, he got caught red-handed poisoning children in flint. and the residents of flint. there's no two ways about it. that's the headline here. but, you know, criminals when they got caught red-handed, do you know what they start to do right away? they start to try to spread the blame. others. there's plenty of blame to go around, i heard. there's plenty of blame to go around. so, let's just put aside the fact that the governor of michigan got caught red-handed poisoning his citizens. let's forget about that. let's also try to blame the michigan low -- the flint local officials. you know, representative kildee from flint got up here and he testified and he made a very prescient point that there's --
it's an attempt to create an equivalency of blame. that's what i say. they're spreading the blame out. and anytime somebody says something about a 7-1 vote in flint, that's -- that is exactly what dan kildee's talking about, is people trying to put the blame on the local officials in flint, blame that has no place in local officials in flint. this is the governor of michigan at fault, his emergency managers, and i was saddened to hear, my colleague from florida say out loud talk about the 78-1 vote. they voted 7-1 not to switch to flint michigan water, they voted 7-1 on having completely ridiculous. it's a reprehensible attempt. and it's something criminal
defendants always do when they get caught red handed. mr. creagh i want talk about the decision that they made the decision to use the flint river water and then they reversed the decision. is that correct? >> i wasn't party to a decision. >> you weren't there. according to press reports one of governor snyder's emergency managers for flint mr. jerry ambrose -- is he here today? can anybody tell me why jerry ambrose is not here today? can anybody tell me why the governor of michigan is not here today? because he's hiding. that's what's happening. ambrose testified in a sworn deposition that in 2012 the governor's previous emergency manager in flint, ed kurtz, had rejected a previous proposal to use flint river water as a primary source of drinking water. are you aware of that decision, mr. creag? >> i am not. >> let me read it to you. it said this, and i quote, it
was the collective decision of the emergency management decision based on conversations with the deq that indicated they would not be supportive of the use of flint river on a long-term basis as a primary source of water. when mr. ambrose was asked why your department made that recommendation, he replied, and i quote, you'll have to ask them. so, i'm asking you as the head of mdeq why did your department previously oppose the use of flint -- use of flint river water as a primary source back in 2012? >> i don't have knowledge as to that conversation nor decision. >> you don't know. your predecessor was dan wyant and that's why we called for his dis, mr. chairman, and i press that request. i'm trying to happen what happened in 2012 when your department opposed using the flint river and 2014 when you reversed course and signed off on permits to allow it and you can't explain that to us because
you weren't there at the time, right? >> that's correct. >> okay. we're having a hearing here in washington, d.c., with witnesses who do not have personal knowledge of the subject. how crazy is that? how interested are we really in getting to the facts when they bring here witnesses who don't know what went on. mr. creagh, in a press release michael priceby of your department stated the quality of the water being put out meets all of our drinking water standards and flint water is safe to drink. he said that. you know that, right? >> correct. >> it was a lie, wasn't it? >> mr. pressby was -- his comment was in relation to the water leaving the plant making sure it met safe drinking water standards and that's what he based that comment on. >> mr. chairman, i'm out of time. i hope you'll designate a minority day of hearings as soon as possible so that we could have witnesses who actually know what the facts were at the time.
and i yield back. >> gentleman from georgia is now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. boveas, i want to start with you, the led in copper rule may not be protected as previously considered. the safe drinking water act requires the lead and copper rule needs to be updated every few years. when was the last time it was updated? >> 2007 is the last time that the rule was updated. >> why is the epa so far behind? >> we've been working actively. we wanted to get advice from our national drinking water advisory council with regard to the revisions that will be proposed and we also received advice from a number of other stakeholders. >> how many years does it take to get the information in order to abide by what you are required to do? >> this is a high priority for us and it's essential that we move forward with revisions to the rule. >> it is a high priority for all
of us. i don't know, mr. chairman, that there's been more of a catastrophe of a government handling of a situation since hurricane katrina and it's been a train wreck. and the epa is so far behind in doing the job. when will the updated rule be ready? >> the current schedule have a proposal coming in 2017. it's important that we take actions even in advance of completing any revisions to the rule to review how the current rule is being implemented. dr. edwards and others have raised a number of important issues with regard to the implementation of the current rule and so we're actively going to be working -- >> my question is when will it be ready? >> my expectation at this point in time is it would be proposed in 2017. >> do we have your commitment that it will be early 2017? >> i certainly would hope that the agency would -- >> you realize that's yet another year. >> i do. >> to get done something that should have been done, what, four years ago now. do we have your commitment it
will be done in early '17? >> i can commit that our work on the lead and copper rule revisions will be one of the highest priorities in my office as well as work to address implementation of the current rule. >> when mr. del toral produced his memo in june, where did that memo go? >> my understanding is that mr. del toral gave it directly to ms. walters whose home was the subject of the testing. my understanding is that was then provided to a reporter and that it went out into the public. >> well, at some point mr. del toral was on leave of absence. who worked on this issue in his absence? >> i'm not aware that he was placed on leave of absence. >> okay. mr. edwards, let me go to you. do you believe in any way that the epa's management of this whole thing hindered its employees from having the
ability to do their job in flint? >> absolutely. >> absolutely. okay. do you believe that the epa's management made the lead crisis in flint worse? >> absolutely. >> absolutely. who at the epa do you find fault? >> susan hedman. >> pardon me? >> ms. susan hedman who had the memo buried, covered up and stood silent as mr. del toral was publicly discredited for his work. when she was questioned by politicians from all parties, through as late as september of this year, she discounted that there was anything of concern in flint occurring at all. that includes mayor walling, people from the state government as well as democratic congressional staff. >> okay. mr. chairman, has the letter from john o'grady epa union representative yet been entered into the record?
>> sorry, which letter? >> from john o'grady. >> if it hasn't, we will enter it without objection so ordered. >> okay. thank you, mr. chairman. let me go back, if i can, mr. beauvais, to you. are you aware of any other situations in region five where there are -- where there may be the potential of contaminated water? >> i am aware of a recent situation with regard to sebring, ohio, where there has been a concern with high lead levels in the drinking water system of which epa was made aware just within the last week and my understanding is that action is being taken with regard to that situation. i believe that epa staff have been on the ground actually as of yesterday in sebring looking at that situation. >> what about other regions throughout the country? >> there are drinking water issues across the country that
we are monitoring actively and working with our state partners to address. >> mr. chairman, my time is expired. i thank you. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. will now recognize the gentle woman from illinois, ms. kelley, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and ranking member cummings and i want to associate myself with the remarks from ranking member cummings. we need to get the folks here who can answer the question of why this happened. and i hope when we have another hearing that mr. del toral will be here as well as the governor and other people we deem necessary. i want to thank the residents of flint for being here and ms. walters, thank you so much for all of your efforts and for your testimony. on november 20th, 2015, the epa's flint drinking water task force commented on flint's residential drinking water lead
and copper sampling instructions. the task force made several recommendations including removing preflushing from the sample collect process. the task force concluded and i quote, these changes should be made to all of the sampling recommendations or instructions from mdeq to all systems not just flint. mr. creagh, do you agree the changes should be made statewide? >> i agree and those changes have been made. >> they have been made? >> yes. >> so, okay, so they're across michigan. dr. edwards, do you feel that these recommendations by the epa task force should apply across the nation? >> yes. absolutely. >> would you include anything else in the recommendations? >> no. well, obviously that the utility should be following the protocol for identifying the high-risk sampling pool. all across the united states they're supposed to be sampling from the homes that are highest risk for lead in water.
and there's very real reason to believe that's not occurring. and the whole effectiveness of the rule is based on that first step as well. >> what are the barriers to epa applying these recommendations across the country? >> my understanding is that we can move forward with making these recommendations across the country and we're actively working on that in terms of regulatory requirements, those issues will have to be taken up in the revisions to the rule. >> okay. i think that this change should be pursued if it means that we will get a more accurate picture of lead contamination in our drinking water across the nation and stop future lead water crises from happening. we must stop the problems at the most basic level of detection and that ensuring that we are getting accurate information. we also must stop playing with people's lives and practicing government on the cheap as well as systemic environmental discrimination. i yield the rest of my time to representative lawrence.
>> thank you. i wanted to just emphasize something and we can't say this enough. when we say that we're pointing fingers, there is the federal government epa and there's the state government. because under the emergency manager act in michigan, the local government, the city of flint, has no government authority. so, this -- the decisions that were made and the actions that were taken, we can look at the state level and we can look at the federal level. i want to be clear about that. all of us who live in michigan clearly understands the emergency manager act. it comes in and it dissolves home rule. and emergency manager reports only -- only -- to the state government and that's our governor. i also want to say when we were saying that the epa had not
showed up until just last week when the new secretary showed up, i want to enter this into the record. january the 21st, there was a united states epa office of enforcement and compliance assurance letter submitted to the city saying that as a result the epa's issuing an sdwa emergency order to make sure that the necessary actions to protect public health happen immediately. in addition to that, because of the failure of the state, the state no longer has the responsibility of testing the water in flint. just this last week it was taken over -- this week it was taken over by epa because of the failure of the state to comply with this order. and so it may have come late, but to say nothing had happened from the epa to that point --
and, again, there was documented a failure on the state's part to actually collect and test the water. so, we have, again, the state and the federal government. if we talking about pointing fingers, that's why i'm here, i'm not pointing fipgers, i want the truth and i want this corrected. thank you, i yield back. >> as to the document we'll enter that into the record unless there's an objection. without objection, so ordered. now recognize the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. russell, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. edwards, ms. walters, thank you for your courage in this issue. and for exposing for the nation when things failed. what is the fundamental core mission of the epa? >> protection of public health and the environment. >> i see. you stated that the lead, copper
rule was updated in 2007. yet from our facts we see that the lead copper rule has not been finalized in any long-term update in 25 years. why is that? >> there have been efforts to update the rule periodically over time. it was updated most recently in 2007. the long-term revisions to the rule are what we're working on right now. >> what we're working on. so for 25 years we've been working on it. in the last decade the epa has issued about 1,000 rules a year, and yet the lead-copper rule has not been finalized in 25. when do you expect that that will be done? >> as i said before, my expectation is that we'll propose the rule in 2017. >> well, according to epa's agenda that was released last fall it stated that the agency hopes to finalize the rule in 2018. so, once again, we see a moving
target. we've got it. we'll take it back. we'll get back to you. we're working on it. that's not the core mission of protecting the health of people where they live, where they work, and where they recreate. in fact, we've seen in cases in flint that general motors determined that the water was so substandard that they shut it down. they said, we're not going to use that water. it was unfit for a work environment, and yet we've seen procedures that have moved on that made the community even more at risk over time. dr. edwards, do you believe that the epa is violating the law and its statutory requirements? >> yes, i do. i don't think they've been following or enforcing the law. >> what do you believe has created this shift away from the epa's core mission? >> well, they have a very cozy
relationship with water utilities. it's a good example of regulatory capture i think. they're not listening to voices of people who have been harmed by this regulation in washington, d.c., durham, and flint. and that's what happens when you listen to one group and ignore the people who are betrayed by this rule. >> 25 years lead-copper rule t it's been a problem. communities really don't have certainty. they don't have finalization, so now a patchwork of requirements exists nationwide. how do we fix it? >> well, for starters, you could enforce the existing law. the existing law would have stopped flint. it would have stopped washington. if it wasn't for all these extra instructions that are being added to the rule allowing people to throw out samples for
eight different reasons, none of these things would have happened. so, alls i want is for them to enforce the existing law. that's all i've been requesting and my colleagues that have been working on this for the last ten years in washington, d.c. >> mr. beauvais, we've seen -- there's been a statutory requirement to do updates and mandates and yet, you know, by your testimony we see dates all around that really don't sync with previous statements from the epa as far as, you know, when this lead-copper rule will be mandated. we've heard testimony that not only is convincing but it's condemning to the priorities of the epa. what's your answer to this? >> i want to emphasize that it's epa's position and it has been epa's position throughout this situation that the water system in flint was required to apply
corrosion control upon making the switch to flint river water. that is a conclusion and a view that mdeq resisted throughout this process. and if that rule had been observed here and corrosion control had been applied, this situation would not have occurred. >> and yet we have a trail of e-mails where your own agency and region five tried to belittle, obstruct, and pretty much eliminate the voices from the community. and yet now you're going to shift that to the michigan deq? is that what i'm hearing you say? >> certainly when we look back on this situation, knowing what we know now, everyone should have done everything humanly possible to avoid this situation. at epa we need to go back and look and understand what happened and make sure that it never happens again. but i do think it's important to remember how we got in this situation.
>> 1991, 2004, 2007. what's it going to be again? how many more ms. walters are we going to have to hear? which city is next? get the rule finalized. you owe it to the american people. we have certain expectations. and while we all have different opinions about the thousands of rules that get passed here in the last decade, i think this one with lead-copper in drinking water is pretty important. with that, mr. chairman, i'll yield back my time. >> will now recognize the gentleman from california mr. lew for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let's call what happened in flint for what it is, a crime of epic proportions. we had tens of thousands poisoned by lead that leached from the lead metal pipes. those responsible should resign and some of them should be
prosecuted. i'd like to focus today my comments and questions on how do we make this right for the residents of flint. i believe we help make it right by giving them a permanent solution. that means replacing their lead pipes. so, i want to enter -- first of all enter the record, mr. chair, an article from "salon" dated monday january 25th about flint. >> without objection so ordered. and i'd remind the audience that no applause or booing or any reaction from the audience would be appropriate for this hearing. thank you. >> i'll read a few sentences from this article. the safe drinking water act required epa to set standards for the concentration of lead from public pipes with a push for lead free. this stirred the country on a road towards replacing old water pipes with pvc also known as plastic pipes as an eco friendly alternative. however, many poorer
municipalities turned to anti-corrosive agents as a cheaper, faster solution. if flint had plastic pipes, we wouldn't be sitting here today, correct? >> that's correct. >> and even with anti-corrosion agents, over time the metal pipes still corrode, isn't that correct? >> yes, sir. could i amend my earlier answer? even with plastic pipes, you would still have to look at the fixtures within the various facilities and so i just wanted to put a little sharper point on that. >> thank you. and we have over 850 water main breaks a day in america. caused by corrosion even with anti-corrosion agents in the water. isn't that roughly correct? >> i do not know that number. >> we have a lot of water main breaks, correct? >> that's a true statement. >> so, i want to enter now into the record an article says "flint water crisis, mayor says lead pipes have got to go," nbc
news, could i enter that into the record? >> without objection, so ordered. >> would you agree with flint mayor weaver that there needs to be the rapid removal of lead pipes now and to be replaced with a non-lead alternative instead of the band-aid solution of just anti-corrosive agents or simply recoating these lead pipes? >> i think it's a complicated issue, as congresswoman norton had pointed out that partial replacement may cause additional problems and so that's the reason we're working with the experts to make sure that whatever happens does not -- >> what about full replacement with plastic pipes or other non-lead pipes? >> that certainly would be one solution. >> okay. under now -- ask you another question. are you aware that many newer, wealthier cities in america and canada have switched to plastic
pipes, alternative to lead pipes? >> i think there's a prohibition that was in the building codes to prohibit the continued use of lead pipes. >> so, let me switch to mr. beauvais the federal epa. i'd like to enter into the record a report from the natural resources defense council, it says study finds safety of u.s. drinking water at risk and the drinking water systems in 19 systems finds that pollution and old pipes threaten tap water quality. >> without objection so ordered. >> we have a national problem "don't we, of lead pipes all around america that leach led into the water system even with anti-corrosive agents, correct? >> there are millions of lead service lines across the country in thousands of systems and this is a challenge for us nationwide. >> we have hundreds of water main breaks because those pipes are being corroded, correct? >> yes, we have significant
water main breaks. >> and there are non-lead alternatives such as plastic piping or other pipes that would not leach lead into the water supply supply, correct? >> in lieu of lead pipes. >> there's an epa rule of lead and copper because those are toxic, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> is there any reason the epa doesn't look at having municipalities switch to plastic pipes or other non-lead alternatives? >> this is -- there actually are lead service line replacement requirements that can be triggered under the lead and copper rule that exists today when certain action levels are exceeded. this will be a major subject of engagement and analysis in the lead and copper rule revisions. we have advice from the national drinking water advisory council and from other stakeholders on these issues. it's important to remember that
even as we look at issues of full lead service line replacements, i believe dr. edwards and others have advised if it's going to be done it has to be done correctly in order not to create bigger problems. >> thank you. i'll make a request of the chair and i'll yield back, if you do have another hearing perhaps we can have another witness on how we can solve this on an ongoing basis. >> thank the gentleman. and now recognize mr. mulvaney for five minutes. >> the purpose here is really to sort of treat this as a problem-solving exercise. versus a blame game. there will be plenty of time for that and also other people involved with that. folks, some of you, are very new to this process. i want to look at the timeline for a little bit. help me under this. you said the epa learned about this in the spring of 2015. by the way, do you have a month on that just for filling in the
timeline? >> i apologize, mr. congressman. my understanding is that epa first learned that the city was not applying corrosion control to its system in april of 2015. >> april of 2015. when did flint move the water supply to the flint river, mr. creagh? >> i believe that was moved in april of 2014. >> okay. >> but i'll check that with the timeline here for accuracy, sir. >> does that generally comport with what everybody understands? >> yes. >> is it your understanding they did not use the phosphate or other similar treatment from the very beginning? dr. edwards, let me ask you the question. if i start pulling the water out of the flint river and put it through these particular pipes how long will it take before the water has an impact on the quality of the drinking water that people are drinking? is it immediate? does it take a couple months for it to break down the lining on the pipes?
how long does it take? >> it takes a period of weeks to about a month and that's when the first consumer complaints started arising about red water which is iron rust falling into the water. >> give or take. now at may in 2014. 11 months from the epa knowing about it, here we are may of 2014. i think you said it was the city's responsibility to certify that the standards had been met. how often are they supposed to do that? >> i think it's on an annual basis. i believe it's on an annual basis. >> on an annual basis. okay, so when was the most relevant certification in that 2014-2015 timeline? >> so, i'll sharpen my answer. i believe that they send in monthly results, but i think that there's an annual review. >> let's focus on the monthly results first. they're sending results to you folks every month on the quality of the water in flint. right? >> well, i'm outside my lane of expertise on the particulars of the reporting aspect.
so, i really can't speak to that directly. >> okay. dr. edwards is nodding his head. clearly, somebody, was the city doing that? >> there's a monthly report on distribution system monitoring. >> did the monthly report that the city of flint delivering beginning in april of 2014 show that the water quality in flint was a problem? >> it's my understanding it didn't, that it met the safe drinking water act quality parameters. >> okay. when -- did the city ever send a report, the monthly report, that said the water didn't meet the standards ever? >> no. it's a different question. and, of course, you only answer the question answered. but let me just help you with that, sir. >> sure. >> so, the water quality parameters required under the safe drinking water ask don't necessarily ask for lead to be tested at that point in time. >> okay. wow. is that true?
that the clean drinking water -- the epa doesn't require them to send information on lead? >> i believe that you may be talking about two different things. >> possible. i don't know anything about this. >> but water quality parameter monitoring as i understand it at the drinking water compliance with the lead and copper rule is actually monitored and tested through samples that are taken in the distribution system because lead leaches into the water from the lead service waterlines and so forth so those samples are not taken at the water treatment plant. i want to add, however, in 2014 the flint system actually had multiple violations of safe drinking water standards including the total coliform rule and the disinfection rule. >> we can't do a proper deposition in five minutes especially with four witnesses. i apologize, i have a lot more questions with my timeline. let me skip ahead to another question which mr. palmer showed me something that my state does not report to the cdc on lead in
water. do they report to the epa? i'm from south carolina. >> with regard to lead in water? the south carolina state government would be the primacy agency in south carolina. >> but do they tell you? >> those results are reported up through the epa's data system. >> so, while south carolina might tell cdc, the centers for disease control they may tell the epa about the quality of the water including lead presence in my water in south carolina? >> i would expect so, yes. >> did michigan do the same thing? >> ultimately, yes. >> okay. again, my time is up and i apologize. it wasn't very fruitful but would like to continue this another time if we can. thank you, mr. chairman. >> we'll now recognize the gentle woman from new jersey ms. watson-coleman for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i've listened to this entire panel discussion, and i have to tell you, my questions are going to be directed first to mr. creagh and then i have a question for mr. beauvais. it is clear to me the
responsibility doesn't lie with the local officials because the local officials were as much victims as the unelected local residents. but you, mr. mccreagh, as the director of the department of environmental quality, whatever it's called in michigan, you at that level, you are primarily responsible. you and the governor of the state of new jersey -- of the state of michigan, i've got that problem in new jersey, just to be clear. but the governor placing those individuals in that responsibility over the city of flint, michigan, and then taking all authority away from the elected officials in the city of michigan, you have primary responsibility here. and your apology after the fact rings hollow. so, i have a couple of questions. mr. creagh, your boss, governor snyder, appointed emergency
managers for the city of flint from 2011 through 2015. based on the law, governor snyder championed in 2011 his emergency managers took over all the powers exercised by flint city council and the mayor. if his emergency manager did something the elected representatives of flint didn't like, there was nothing that they could do about it. on march 23rd, 2015, the city council attempted to reverse a decision to use flint river water. they adopted a resolution by a vote of 7-1, and i quote, to return to the detroit water and sewage department for the purchase of water for its citizens. mr. creagh, are you aware of that resolution and that vote? >> i have not seen that resolution. >> the problem is that flint was still under the control of the emergency manager, gerald
ambrose in this case. the next day on march 24th, 2015, mr. ambrose overruled the city council's vote. let me read to you what he said, and i quote -- flint water today is safe by all epa and mdeq standards, and the city is working daily to improve its quality. water from detroit is no safer than water from flint. are you aware of that statement? >> i am not. >> mr. ambrose called the effort by the city council to stop using flint river water, and i quote, incomprehensible. mr. creagh, do you agree that mr. ambrose's action was an absolutely horrible decision for the people of flint? >> i cannot address mr. ambrose's actions. i can say that the plant in flint had been used historically as a backup water supply
utilizing the flint river. had passed its performance standards. had been -- had been tested on a quarterly basis. >> that's very interesting, mr. mccreagh, that i'm sitting here looking at water being held up in baby bottles and water bottles that looks like lemonade and ice tea and not clear water. if mr. ambrose let the city council's decision to stand the actual amount of lead exposure in flint would have been reduced, is that not so? can you say yes or no to that? >> i'm sorry, can you repeat that one time? >> if he had let the city council's resolution to return to the detroit water system as a sort of water, would the actual amount of lead exposure in flint, would it have been reduced? >> i believe that's a true statement. >> mrs. walters, this decision by the governor's emergency manager for mr. ambrose came after the state was told about the extremely high levels of
lead in your house in february, right? >> correct. february 25th and march 17th. >> and i am so very sorry for you and the residents and the children of the city of flint. it seems to me that the decision by the governor's emergency manager was one of the worst actions in this entire debacle. mr. mccreagh, how long have you been involved in state government at the director level in other departments? >> i was the director of the michigan department of agriculture from january of 2010 through july of 2011 and director of the michigan department of natural resources from that time until january 4th. >> do you consider yourself a member of governor snyder's team? >> i'm a member of governor snyder's cabinet. >> do you know who owns this water authority? and do you know if there's any relationship between any of the principals of that authority to the governor, to his campaigns
or to the party that is represented by the governor in the state of michigan? >> i have no such knowledge of that. >> finally, mr. beauvais, what is it -- what is the most that you could have done as a department of the epa to correct this problem had you responded in a timely and sufficient manner? what is the extent of your authority? what could you have done? >> congresswoman, that's an excellent question, and i think that's exactly what we need to take a look at right now. the epa needs to look at -- the epa was working with mdeq to try to get it to do the right thing, but the questions that we need to ask are at what point in time should the epa either have forced mdeq to do the right thing or provided the public directly with information. >> that is my question. mr. chairman, if i just might explore this one second. >> one more, yes. >> what do you mean when you said that should epa have forced the situation?
what could epa do within its authority that could have forced the situation? >> i don't want to speculate with regard to the specific facts and specific timelines. i do recognize that epa has emergency response authority under the safe drinking water act. >> for the record, i want it noted that you didn't answer my question. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> duly noted. will now recognize the gentleman from alabama, mr. palmer, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. beauvais, in december of 2000 the epa put out this report on america's children and the environment, and on page 41 it says, there is no demonstrated safe concentration of lead in the blood. no demonstrated concentration, none. is that still the epa's opinion? >> there is no safe level of lead exposure. >> all right.
following up on the questions been asked by several members about the lead and copper rule. the last time it was updated was 2007. prior to that it was 1991. the safe drinking water act requires that the lead and copper rule be updated at least every six years. can you explain to me why we're delaying this out to 2017 possibly 2018? >> the current process involves soliciting advice and input from our national drinking water advisory council which includes representatives -- >> mr. beauvais, you had an epa official put out a report about what was going on in flint, michigan. you didn't need to solicit anything else. you could have acted. you've got a room full of people now who have been impacted because of it. so, what are you waiting on? >> we are not waiting. and i want to emphasize that the
revisions to the rule while very important are not the primary issue with regard to the flint situation. >> i understand that. but, look, there's a -- following up on mr. mulvaney's question about reporting to the cdc. there's a report, 2014, of the counties that have elevated lead levels of the top ten, number one and number three, are in alabama. i don't know anything the epa has done on that. does the epa get the data from the cdc and act on it? >> i would expect that the epa has access to the data from cdc -- >> i didn't ask you that. i'm sure you've got access to the data. can you act on it? because these are -- only kids here that are impacted by lead levels, so do you act on it? >> absolutely. blood lead levels are affected by multiple sources of lead including lead in paint and lead in soil and the epa has programs
along with our state partners that address all these issues, lead in drinking water also is -- >> let me direct something to mr. edwards. mr. edwards, it appears to me that the irony of this is the epa wants to regulate everything, you know, they want to regulate ditch water and puddles in backyards, yet in georgia they had a toxic spill. they initially denied responsibility for. you had another epa whistle-blower, dave lewis, one of your top scientists, who revealed that the epa was involved in this. released an enormous amount of toxic material into the ground water. into the creek. including lead. and the epa tried to cover that up. what do you know about that? >> nothing. i know who david lewis is and i respect him, but i don't know the specifics of that case, sir. >> well, the specifics of the case is the epa violated their
own rule on releasing lead into ground water. and this blows my mind. you've got people whose lives are going to be -- i mean, young ki kids whose lives will be affected into adulthood because of this. it's not just the flint problem. this is across the board. i think -- i can't remember who it was that made this point. but the epa has failed in its responsibility. it's lost credibility. and this problem i think it's beyond -- i mean, it's not just the epa. there's malfeasance in the epa. i think there's problems at the state level. at the local level. and my -- as it's been pointed out, as mr. mulvaney pointed out, i'm not so much interested in the blame. you have to figure out where the problem is before you fix it. but my interest is in fixing the problem, make sure that we don't
ever have to have another group of people come in here with their children in front of this committee or any other congressional committee to try to get the government to do what it's supposed to do. mr. chairman, i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank the gentleman. will now recognize the gentle woman from the virgin islands for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. ranking member, for the opportunity to speak with these witnesses today. i first want to let the people of flint, michigan, know that you have my and my constituents heartfelt condolences on what's happened, and the devastation that's going to occur to you all in the days moving -- and the years moving forward. a few days ago "the boston globe" ran an article that advocates that flint and its tainted water, it epitomized the worst kind of environmental racism at the hands of government agencies. that conclusion may be true, but what has happened in flint is really just symptomatic of what is happening in economically
disadvantaged neighborhoods all across america. regardless of the race of the inhabitants. it continues to happen because america tolerates environmental hazards and polluting of the poor and people of color every day. the lead and other contaminants in flint water is just one kind of environmental hazard. for many other economically challenged communities toxic chemicals are stored in nearby facilities or used abundantly in manufacturing plants. everyone appears to be shocked and surprised by what has happened in flint, michigan. unfortunately, it's really unfortunate, but i'm not shocked at all. i'm not shocked because this is par for the course. this is business as usual in america. it's unfortunate and a travesty that we have crises like these occurring around the country every day, whether it's toxic drinking water, toxic land,
subhuman tenements. for the most part the common denominator is communities that are majority minority, low income, low-income, socio-economically challenged areas. that's the common factor in most of those places where we find that. that's the common denominator in flint, along with other places. eleanor holmes norton talked about it in d.c. certain americans don't count for much. governors, federal agencies, state emergency managers want to wag their fingers at towns for telling them they don't manage their money properly and bring overseers over them who don't want to expend the money in the right way to support those areas. unfortunately, this is congress is the same. we create select committees and drag all kinds of important people to testify over issues that they think are important. that they think are important.
not to disparage and make light of the gravity of the incident, but this congress created the benghazi committee over the death of four americans. that committee has spent nearly $6 million to investigate that. but we can't get the governor of michigan at this hearing to give responses for actions that are going to affect 9,000 children. that's a shame and that's business as usual. but i want to talk about the money that was spent and where that money was spent. mr. career, there are many people in the michigan state government that could have stopped this tragedy from occurring. despite the fact that they oversaw is and contributed to this tragedy, governor snyder continues to place them in positions of increasing responsibility. let's take the emergency manager as an example.
did you know mr. early was paid $180,000 for doing his job as the emergency manager? >> i do not. >> i have an article here in a detroit magazine -- detroit newspaper that talks about that. during mr. early's tenure, tens of thousands of men, women and children were exposed to extremely unhealthy levels of lead. yet governor snyder then rewarded him with a new position of the emergency manager of detroit public schools system. mr. kreer, did you know that mr. early received a salary on that job and what that salary was? >> i'm not aware of his salary. >> did you know he received a salary of 2 $21,000. received a promotion is a $41,000 raise for that position? do you think that governor snyder was exercising good judgment in promoting mr. early after the job he did in flint's water crisis? >> mr. early's salary is between the governor and himself. >> i didn't ask you about his
salary. i asked you whether it was good judgment in promoting him to that position? >> i'm not in position to refer to the governor's judgment. >> and i think maybe others here would believe that based on his abysmal performance in flint, do you think he deserves to be appointed to another job that involves taking care of the health and safety of thousands of children. mrs. waters, are you aware that mr. early's salary was paid for by flint, the town, not the state of michigan? >> no, i was not. >> that it's your tax dollars that were paying for him to do the job that he did on those children. so governor snyder rewarded mr. early for the job he did in flint with another job that paid him $221,000. mr. chairman, i want to thank you for your attempt to subpoena mr. early to appear here today and i'm going to ask you to continue your attempt to enforce that subpoena and that mr. early, along with the governor, will appear in front of this
committee in another hearing in short order. thank you for the time. >> thank you. i now recognize myself for five minutes. in congress, we have chief jurisdiction on the federal government, the epa. we have a more limed role by the very nature of tax dollars and accountability at the state level. there's still a role, but nevertheless, it's still less. our focus many times on the federal component is one primarily of jurisdiction, dollars, power of the purse. that's why i feel so adamantly about it. it's not to excuse what happened at the city or the state level, but the remedy on how to deal with this often is at the city, county, or state level. and we will still look at those things. and clearly, there is no doubt in anybody's mind that there
were dramatic failures at the city level, at the state level, and there's a complete case to be made about the need to look at what happened between that state emergency manager, the governor's office, the michigan environmental quality, i understand that. but a lot of our focus will naturally be upon the epa because of the nature of it being a federal entity and this being the united states congress. with that said, we've had something festering at the epa for a long period of time. and often where there's smoke, there's a bigger fire. remember, it was gina mccarthy, the epa administrator who was overseeing john beal, who was dealing with air quality. one of the few times they
actually prosecuted and he had to serve time in jail for fraud. she got a promotion. now she's in charge of the epa. here's my question, mr. beauvais, and this is my frustration. you said that it was a high priority, but what evidence do you support to us, or can you give to us that this is a high priority for the epa? in july of last year, we highlighted the problems in region five. we talked about susan headman. we talked about the sexual misconduct. we had three people who stepped up and said, we've got a problem here. was anything done about that that you're aware of? >> i'm not privy to personnel discussions and matters -- >> nothing. she just retired. no consequence on monday. so my point is, when we have
these discussions in hearing, and you have three whistle-blowers, good, hard, decent patriot people saying we got a problem here, you have sexual misconduct, you have retaliation, guess what, it bleeds over. then you have a good person, like mr. dell toro who steps up, what is the lesson that is learned? >> i actually think that mr. dell toro is representative of the vast majority of epa employees who are incredibly dedicated -- >> but you're here testifying that it's a high priority. he went to her house in february. and it took a year from the time he first showed up into her home, until the epa actually issued a directive, correct? >> epa was working with mdaq to get them to do the right thing. >> they were suppressing those reports, telling them they were preliminary. what did you see as you looked at those documents?
were they trying to do that or -- >> epa was aiding, abetting and evolving mdaq's cover-up. >> how do you respond to that? >> i think the specific facts of those matters ought to be looked at by -- >> we're looking at them right here today. you're in charge of water quality. he's telling you they aided and abetted to make sure that information didn't get out. why? >> my understanding is that they were working with -- >> that's not what the evidence show. that's not what the documents so. they said it's preliminary, don't rely on that data, don't look at that data? is that correct? >> that's correct. >> what's your response to that? >> i can't speak to that. my understanding is that epa was working with mdaq, to get them to do the right thing.
>> let's talk about the right thing to do. what's the number one thing you do, if you're trying to warn the citizens, let the citizens know, what's the number one thing you should let them know? >> i think that's exactly the right question to ask. >> i'm asking you that question and i'm glad you agree it's the exact right question. you're from the epa, you're in charge of water quality. i want to know what the answer is. >> it's important for epa to go back and understand all the facts -- >> no, it's not. it's important for the epa to tell the public that they're poisoning their kids if they drink the water. >> i agree. >> then why didn't they do that? they sat on that for almost a year? >> administrator mccarthy issued a policy this january. >> this january! they had it for nearly a year. the epa administrator went to flint yesterday. the epa first went to her home in february of last year. why did it take a year?
>> i can't answer that question. all i can say is they were working -- >> then why don't we fire the whole lot of them. what good is the epa? if you're not going to tell the citizens, my daughter, she's getting married. i get emotional about that. she's moving to michigan. are you telling me, that the epa knowing that there's lead in the water, that they're not going to tell those kids, because that's exactly what happened. they knew that. mr. dell toro knew that, when did he know that? >> mr. dell toro did testing on miss walters' water in early 2015 and knew the lead levels were incredibly high in her water. >> and when was that? >> february of 2015. >> yes. why wasn't that made -- >> i don't know the answer to that question. >> you can't come to a hearing before congress and be in charge of water for the epa and not know the answer to that question! you can't! you've got to know what that is.
don't tell me some inspector general is going to come look at that. we keep hearing that, that ain't good enough. the crying shame here is, when they knew there was a problem, they should have told the public. they should have told deq. they should have told the experts and they should have been out there to warn people like miss walters. general motors knew about this and stopped using the water, for goodness sake. but the families don't have the resources that general motors does. mr. edwards, when do you think they knew? and when should they have made that public? >> i think they should have made it public as soon as miss walters figured out that her child was lead poisoned and they were not following the federal law. but even if you excuse that, when mr. dell toro put his professional career on the line to have that memo written and gave it to leeanne, when they
started covering up at that point, i personally believe it was criminal. >> and that's why we will continue to investigate this. one other thing and i appreciate the generosity of the time. why has the epa failed to fulfill the foyer request? this committee has jurisdiction on foia. we've done a reform package that mr. cummings was very involved with. when mr. edwards, he works for his life on studying water. we need good people like mr. edwards to be able to access the data and the information at the epa. why can't we fulfill these foia requests? because you're supposed to do it in 21 days, as mr. meadows opponented out and it's been nine years. when is he going to get that information? >> i don't know the specifics with regard to the foia requests. but as i said before, i will take this back and ensure that's
a high priority. >> i think that's a fair answer for this question. i appreciate the epa responding to us in that regard in a timely manner, but we have to know the answer to that question. you can't play hide the documents here. i've gone way past my time. we'll now go to mr. clay. >> thank you, mr. chairman. if governor snyder was here, i'd sure like to ask him if the water was toxic in gross point, instead of flint, would you have denied it for a year? and would you have stood by and stonewalled while those children were poisoned with neuro toxins? mr. chairman, we need to use that same passion that we just heard from you to get governor snyder here!
and get him on the record! so that we all know what was going through his administration and through his mind, to allow this to -- this is a pattern. this is a pattern in michigan. and as miss plasket said, it's a pattern all over this country. our communities of color, as well as low and moderate-income community are victims of environmental injustice. you know, and i represent st. louis so there are ample examples of how this environmental racism plays out, how we had a facility next to a boys and girls club where a thousand kids were exposed daily to pcbs, left by manufacturing
plants to lead and other exposure to toxins. let me ask mrs. walters, i'm so sorry that you and your family, like so many of your neighbors, are living through this man-made nightmare. as a father, i can well remember the fear and the anger i felt when my own daughter tested positive for lead at a very young age. that was a long time ago and she is doing fine today. but i want to ask you first, how are your children? >> my children are dealing with health issues. the one with the lead poisoning has a compromised immune system and he's only gained 3 1/2
pounds in the last year. >> so you believe they have suffered serious impairment? >> yes, sir. he's still dealing with the anemia and he's developed speech issues. >> let me ask you and this is for the entire panel. how do we repair the damage that has been caused by the gross negligence of the state of michigan in protecting its citizens? how do we repair the damage to your children, to your neighbors and even possibly to you? how do we do that, miss walters? let's start here. >> first we take responsibility for what's happened, then we change the laws upon quit talking about the nid wack. they're not there to represent the people. they're there to protect utilities, let's get that on the
record right now. there's one person that's been on the nid wack fighting against what's been represented there. if what the nid wack is suggesting is adopted throughout the epa, what happened in flint will happen throughout the country. we need to make sure the children, and all the people in flint are taken care of health wise. my children need that. other children need that. not just children under 6. i know a 15-year-old who has liver problems. a 44-year-old man had an eye stroke because of problems with his blood pressure with his lead poisoning. doing right for the people is going to be making sure we're taken care of it, making sure we have the pipes replaced, once we have the science behind it, to know exactly what we need to do to get done. >> how do we repair the damage,
the physical and the mental health effects from what has occurred? >> the fact of the matter is, the damage from lead is irreversible. that's why we have to work on prevention, that's why we have these laws. about you you can take steps to ameliorate the harm. these are being proposed by the local medical community and we support those recommendation whole heartedly. in terms of the trauma of the citizens of flint, that's going to take a lot longer to repair, because they have been fundamentally betrayed by the agencies paid to protect them. we need to get trustworthy people at these agencies, doing their job before we can even talk about restoring trust of the people of flint. >> thank you. mr. creagh?
>> both these individuals said it well. we have to accept responsibility, change so it never happens again. because this is a crisis, it's a tragedy in flint. and as you said very eloquently if it's your child or my grandchild, it's not acceptable. >> mr. beauvais? >> i agree that it's critical that we do everything to help the citizens of flint to get the drinking water back online to also ensure that resources get to the community with regard to the kids and the folks in that community. going forward, we also need to work on the issues that we've discussed with regard to strengthening the rules and strengthening implementation of the rules and we'll be listening to all stakeholders as we work on that process. >> and i know my time is up, but this should never happen again in this country.
this was all about the stake of austerity and saving a few dollars. and this is tragic. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman and recognize the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. grossman, for five minutes. >> thank you. mr. beauvais, this is for you. mr. dell toro, we've had previous hearings showing there are big problems with this agency, a lot of time servers, not only with the public, but their fellow employees have displayed a tremendous lack of compassion and caring for people. mr. dell toro was ringing the alarm here over a year ago. he was sending out e-mails. could you let us know how many other employees in the epa you think mr. dell toro had alerted that the children of flint were being poisoned? >> i don't have precise information on the number of employees that were privy to the information. >> he was sending out e-mails, wasn't he, to people? >> my understanding is, yes, i
don't want to give inaccurate information with how broad that circle was. >> dozens, 30, 50? >> i don't know the answer to that. >> okay, why why don't we get that answer eventually. i'd like to know how many employees in the epa knew the children of flint were being poisoned and didn't care. next question. can i ask your educational background, do you have any special training that allowed you to expose this thing that nobody else could get it exposed. >> i have my degree as a medical assistant and i decided to start researching and educating myself about water. i had to figure out what was going on after i was humiliated by the state in a public meeting with the citizens. >> it shows one more time than having a lot of heart is worth more than having a lot of college degrees. thank you very much for what you've done.
>> next question for, i guess i'll ask, well, maybe mr. edwards would know the answer to this. i want to find out exactly physically, how many people in each of the three relevant agencies, the city of flint, the state of michigan, the epa, presumably they test the water in flint regularly, right? >> right. >> and how often do they test it? >> once every six months. >> okay. and when was the first time that bad tests were available? >> well, very clearly in early 2015, in my opinion, they actually failed the lead and copper rule, but they took steps to cover up, to hide lead. one of the ironys of this, as national guards people walked the streets of flint and distributed bottled water, there's never been an admission that flint failed the lead and
copper rule. so if you look at what mdeq did, and they invalidated samples, it just shows what a joke this regulation is. >> and at that time would the city manager have known? would michigan environmental quality, or did they all know by that time? >> there were certainly many employees at epa and mdeq that they were not following the federal corrosion control law. that should be enough. you wouldn't think you'd have to wait around for lead and water to spike, and lead in children's blood to spike before anything's done. >> okay, so they should have been ringing the alarm over a year ago. they all knew and it's not in my city, so what do i care, kinda? >> you'd have to ask them.
i don't know. >> okay. that's it, i'll yield the rest of my time. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the woman from new mexico, lewan griffin. >> thank you, madam chair. and clear to me in addition to the really disturbing nature of the issues that we're trying to identify, what we could do to prevent them clearly in the future, i think there's plenty of blame to go around everywhere, because the whole aspect is to have as many eyes on these sorts of situations as possible. but i'm going to actually go back and focus on the state. i was the former secretary of health in new mexico. we actually had an arsenic problem in water in a northern
county. and the second we know there are elevated levels, whether there's the environment department's core job, or whether that is the local, the municipality, the government's job, we provide that information and that data and set up a public health protocol and then make sure all of our other partners are clearly doing their jobs. because at the end of the day, everybody in government's core job is the public health and safety of the citizens that you represent and are frankly sworn to protect. so i want to talk a little bit about the pediatrician who was seeing elevated levels of lead, dr. mona hanna atta shaw who i think other folks have identified as the flint pediatrician, who really demonstrated by virtue of the patient data that she had, that we're seeing pediatric youth being poisoned throughout the city and that trying to get data
to identify the source, make sure that you can then correlate that data, so you have a plan of action that then protects everybody else. that's exactly what you need to do. and my understanding is that this pediatrician went to the department of health and wanted their data about what was going on. and in fact, i have here, madam chair, e-mails from the department of health that i want to provide and ask for consent to have them as part of the record where the e-mail communications from the governor's office to the department of health dox and public health employees is not to share any data until they have a press conference. which looks to me, by virtue of the information i have in front of me, that they're making political decisions before they make appropriate decisions for the public health of the community. how many more kids were drinking
water during the time they prepped for a press conference? how many more pediatricians were without enough sufficient information? i want to just also tell you that the governor's communication plan, this is what it states specifically, that data not be shared until the press conference starts at 1:30. now, the co-workers are responded that they'll wait and that everyone was waiting for permission to provide, to give the data. so, mr. creagh, can you explain to me, why the governor's office is instructing their independent medical personnel and public health personnel to refrain from giving data to a licensed pediatrician, who was working to provide care to patients in her
community, related to a press conference, please? >> i can't speak for the director of the department of health and human services. i can say that mr. mona hanna teeshia did some great work and zeroed in on some areas, and that drove the decision-making and identified the problem, and we appreciate that. >> isn't it true that in all of the state's department of health, you have a triple-team of epidemiologists whose job it is, when anyone identifies any issue of this nature, that it's more like a s.w.a.t. team, they're in those communities, identifying the source, they're working together? we helped fund those initiatives in all of the states and yet we have a political communication that you are new, you can't really state, but isn't it true, isn't that typically the job of those departments of health, to not just provide the data, but
engage directly to address the problem? why weren't they engaged? why didn't the governor's office immediately demand that the epidemiology team and your chief medical officer be on site? that would be against, as i understand it, that protocol for all states. >> so michigan has very similar protocols to the state where you were at, where there's epidemiologists and health care professionals that respond to those types of public health emergencies. >> so how do you rebut that this was purposeful then in nature, given that the protocols that you're familiar with, as someone new, and i'm familiar with, without being a public health doc or an epidemiologist, that that's exactly why we have those resources in place, so that, a, we hope to prevent these situations, but by god, when we know about them, we immediately engage to prevent any other harm or damage? >> the gentlewoman's time is
expired. the e miles will be admitted without objection. so ordered. >> i yield back. >> the chair will now recognize herself for five minutes. my questions are for miss walters and mr. edwards. mr. edwards, your questions will come last and be very open-ended. miss walters, i want to talk to you about mr. dell toro. when did you meet him first? >> the first time i met him in person was in april of 2015. >> and could you tell me what happened at that meeting? >> he had come into my home, because he was being told that my pluming was the problem. my internal pluming. so he came to verify that all of my plumbing was plastic and to check out the home, check out the area, take pictures and spoke with us about what was going on. >> what happened to him and the information he derived from that discussion thereafter? >> it went on for him to come back out on another date to do
sampling in may of 2015. and other people's homes, my neighbors' homes as well and from there came the report that came out in june. >> and after the report, was his view of the situation credited and was action taken? >> everything that was in that report was everything that i had told him that had been going on, plus his findings with his own testing, with him being an expert in his field. so when he called me and asked me if he could use my information for this report, i said yes andu when i saw it in black and white, there's a difference living it and seeing it in black and white. that is why it was given to the aclu and why it was made public, because people had a right to know. from that point, he was no longer to have association with me or anybody else in flint. >> not allowed by who? >> by the epa.
>> what happened to him after he was not allowed to have association with you or do you know? >> i don't know. you'd have to ask mr. dell toro. i just know what i've been told. >> mr. edwards, when, how -- when and how did you gain access to that information? >> i first knew about this when mr. dell toro told me that there was a problem in flint. that turned out to be the understatement of the year. but he alerted me to miss walters and her family's health issues and asked me to sample with leeanne and so i did, i provided my data to his report as well, because i thought it would be best if epa handled this. he was obviously the foremost expert on the lead and copper rule in the united states and one would assume when he writes a memo saying that flint is breaking federal law, that there's a public health threat,
that there's hazardous levels of lead coming out of miss walters home, and there's a lead-poisoned child, that something would be done about it. so i gave him my data. and when i saw the report, i assumed that the appropriate authorities would act to protect flint's population. >> when they didn't act, what did you do? >> i didn't know what happened for quite some time, until they bragged to miss walters and laughed at her and she reported back to me that, quote/unquote, mr. dell toro had been handled and it was very clear that an agreement had been reached of some sort between epa and mdq that would let mdg have their way with flint's children. >> have their way in what way? >> that they were not going to install corrosion control. they had no intention to do it.
there's many e-mails that showed they were waiting until this new pipeline came on next year, and they thought it was a waste of time to do anything to treat the water. when we got involved in august, as a matter of fact, and mdq e-mail said, shouldn't someone tell those folks from virginia tech we're stwiching to the pipeline next year, so they don't bother wasting their time on this issue. >> i find this so astounding but unfortunately, not unique. this has been referred to as a racial issue. i can tell you in my own state, there was an administrative order on consent for 17 years in the refinery that i live right next to, to put in a slury wall to protect the water that our cattle were drinking. and for 17 years, that refinely didn't turn a shovel and neither
the state nor the epa made them. this is not unique. this is a situation that occurs time and again. and i would implore agencies, listen to people. don't just listen to companies. my time is expired. and the gentle lady from texas, miss sheila jackson lee is -- [ inaudible ] -- is recognized for five minutes. >> let me thank the chair and the ranking member for again upholding their authority and upholding, if you will, the authority of the united states congress, chaffets and cummings for their bipartisan approach to this. one cannot help, i sit on the house judiciary committee but be nothing but angry.
as a mother and as an american. i want to say to this mother that is here, we've already called you a hero of which you would wish not to be, because you have a child that has been impacted. as i sit here today, the memories of a jim jones, who gave a poisoned concoction to children, causes me to say that there's a jim jones in michigan, who gave a poisoned concoction to children and their families. if any of us should demand accountability, we should. i want to ask mr. edwards before i pursue a questioning of mr. craig. mr. edwards, you have given a recounting of just not putting phosphate in water. and i know that you are not a judge or a jury and i know you're a man that believes in the constitution, but if you had to reflect, would you say that there were criminal activities
or results of this inaction? >> if it's not criminal, i don't know what is. >> i join you in that questioning and i have asked the department of justice to investigate individuals that may be engaged criminally, to hold them criminally responsible for the actions in flint, michigan. [ applause ] let me raise a question -- were you trying to finish your sentence, mr. edwards? because i have your whole series here. mr. creagh, in your statement, you claim and i quote, regardless of the testing schedule allowed by the epa rule in hindsight when lead levels began to rise corrosion controls should have been employed. however, rather than taking responsible for this decision, you criticized the epa for failing to provide a legal interpretation of the lead and copper rule for november 2015.
you said, my observation is that the epa did not display a sense of urgency that the situation demanded this is underscored by conversations started in february 2015, regarding implementation of the federal lead and copper rule. between february and the end of september 2015, there were multiple e-mail exchanges and conference calls between the mdeq and epa, yet when the parties were unable to come to consensus on the implementation in july 2015, the epa failed to provide the legal opinion until november 25th. let me again thank the chairman and ranking member, member lawrence for her leadership, and let me say to the newly elected mayor, let me applaud you, for this was not on your watch, but i'm committed as we all are to you, that the fix will come on your watch. mr. creagh, are you telling this committee that the reason the e.
pa failed to provide corrosion control in flint water was because you were not provided a statement saying you had to do that? where was your own moral andified ushary responsibility? >> i'm not stating that. >> what are you stating? >> i'm not saying there wasn't corrosion control because of a lack of opinion from epa. my testimony said that we should have, at the latest, once the first six-month testing came, we should have taken some action. >> so you are not taking the position that you could not act as an independent state as the tenth amendment says, what is not left to the federal government, can believe left to the state, i would assume you would be concerned about? >> we are concerned about the michiganders. >> let me say there was inaction in not doing what was supposed to be done, is that correct, sir?
>> in hindsight, i think we all share responsibility for the crisis in flint water. >> let me just say this, it strains belief that your testimony, that again, the aging lead service lines and all that needed to be done was at the feet of the federal government. so i just want to hear you again. it was not in totality at the feet of someone other than the authorities in michigan, in this instance, the state? >> i believe we all share responsibility in this crisis. >> let me say this, you're in the midst of the federal government. we're all saying we want to help. and let me thank msnbc rachel mado who took her show to flint, michigan and gave us an inspiration for change and let me thank pastors in my community and the red cross. but the point is, we know there's a figure of 50 to $60 million. we know that there needs to be a change in pipes that lead to homes and the pipes in homes. can you say because of the moral
authority vested in you as the state government and the need to give a response, that you would engage and use or argue or the governor that's not here, there should be an empty chair there, but he spend the 50 to $60 million to completely overhaul the pipe system in the city of flint, would you agree to that? >> the commitment from state government is that we're in it for the long haul for the citizens of flint and we'll work with our partners, both at the city, state, and federal government to make sure we get it right, because no one deserves this. >> you're an expert, sir, can you just say -- >> the gentle woman's time has more an expired. >> can he answer the question? >> no, we're going to move on to morgan griffith, the represent from virginia is now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and thank you for allowing me to participate in
this hearing. miss walters, thank you for making this public and for reaching out for help. dr. edwards, have been in southwestern virginia and virginia tech are so very proud to call you one of ours. thank you for the work that you have done. i was talking with president sands of virginia tech just a few minutes before the hearing started out in the hallway, i did not know miss walters at the time, and i was going over your resume, just saying, this guy, his resume is a wow. she walked up and she said, and he's a wow of a person too. what a great endorsement from a mom who reached out to protect her kids, to a white knight who was willing to be there, to come in and charge. i can't tell you how proud i am to represent southwest virginia, but particularly to have people in my strict of your caliber. we may not always agree, i don't
have any idea, but i recognize somebody who will not be handled and in the mountains of southwest virginia, those people always get respect. and i appreciate that. that being said, i do have a few questions that i would like to ask. one being up to this point in time, if somebody made a complaint to me while i had other battles with the epa, if it dealt with air or water, i would say, the epa hasn't said there's a problem. am i to take from the testimony here today that in your opinion, maybe i need to go beyond relying on the epa when it comes to whether or not the water supply in my district has been affected? >> i wish i could say otherwise, but events have proven you correct. >> i hope that should you know of any issues that i need to be looking at in the district, that you will let me know about that. likewise, i kinda got the impression that citizens, other moms across the country, probably ought to be calling their local water supply
companies and local municipalities and just asking them, are you doing the proper testing? am i correct in that, dr. edwards is this. >> i'm ashamed to say that yes, you are correct. >> i appreciate that. i saw your written testimony in advance and thought you had some good comments about the fact, and this is something we need to do. and that is, that the rise of institutional scientific misconduct is a relatively new fonom non. clearly we do not have adequate checks and balances on the power of these agencies, nor do we hold them accountable for their unethical actions. i assume you stand by that, nothing in this hearing today has changed your opinion in that regard? >> no, nothing's changed. >> and i will tell you that i was having a conversation, i'm a recovering attorney, i like to joke with my friends. i was having a conversation with an attorney friend of mine a few days ago, i guess it was last week, who also has been involved
with the brain injury services of southwest virginia and has previously chaired the virginia office for protect and advocacy which is an independent state agency that tries to take care of folks with disabilities, protects the rights of those with disabilities. we were talking about this, and he indicated that he, like you today have expressed, that he thought there must be something criminal, that it wasn't just a matter of saying you're sorry and fixing it, that there were probably people who needed to go to jail. so i couldn't help but think in listening to the testimony and the questions earlier, mr. mosh said that he thought it was a bad thing, or he indicated it was bad, when the attorney for mr. early said it was nonsense cal for him to come and testify, i suspect that maybe what the attorney meant to say is, you have the right to remain silent. anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. would you disagree with my assessment of that response by his attorney? >> i'm not a lawyer, so i'll
stay away from that one. >> appreciate that. i know it's been a long day for all of you. again, miss walters, i appreciate you stepping up. dr. edwards, thank you for taking your own time, your own energy, the resources from your discretionary funds that you have spent on this cause. you were not handled by anybody, including the federal government, and again, i do respect that and appreciate it and with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. we'll recognize mr. cummings, the ranking member and then myself. >> i want to thank all of you for being here today. mr. chairman, thank you again for holding this hearing. it's a very important hearing. and i've listened to almost every syllable that has been said here today. mr. edwards, i know that just based upon what my staff has
revealed to me, that you and what i've heard here today, that the epa has obviously not been fair to you. is that a fair statement? come on. i can't hear you. >> i believe that's a correct statement, yes. >> and i'm sure you have a lot of deep hurt, disappointment, because obviously you're trying to do the right thing and you are driven by a passion to make people's lives better, is that an accurate statement? >> yeah. whatever hurt i've experienced is nothing compared to the hurt of the parents, of the children in this room. >> that's why i want to get to this question. and i've listened to everybody very carefully. but, you know, i keep hearing, i hear you, and i guess as a trial lawyer, i'm kinda used to kinda really listening carefully. it seems like you spent a lot of time on the epa.
and i want you to be clear and i'll say it 50 million times and i mean it, i want the fdpa to be held responsible for addressing the things that they're supposed to address. but it seems and help me with this, because i'm just listening to you, you don't seem to put too much blame on the state. why is that? or am i missing something? and the reason why i give that whole long statement that i just gave, because i know sometimes we can be so upset, because we've been buabused and treated badly, but i want to make sure that we're also looking at the whole picture. you follow what i'm saying? >> yes. my perspective on this is that these are the agencies paid to protect us. the michigan department of environmental quality and susan headman at the epa is the top environmental cop in the veej. i have said repeatedly that the primary blame for this, rests
with a few people at the michigan department of environmental quality, without question. but in terms of other people in the state, those core professionals misled them throughout this whole thing. mr. walling, in flint, for example, reached out after reading miguel's memo, as a considerate mayor would to susan headman and said, is this something i should take seriously. and she told them, the top environmental cop in the region said, i'm sorry this memo took place and i'll get back to you after a vet and edit. so 100% of the responsibility lies there, but epa because of miguel dell toro, to be the hero here, and miss headman snatched defeat for epa from the jaws of victory for discrediting his memo and standing by silently,
as she knew that federal law was not protecting flint's children. >> and as i close, let me tell you the value of what has happened here today. what you all have done has given us a platform to look further. i mean, you've given us the basic information. you follow what i'm saying? now we have to go, you've given names and you've talked about different situations, and now we have to go higher, and to you, mr. creagh, i know you have a tough job. how long you been in that job? >> since january 4th, and that was by choice. >> wow. but again, i hope that -- i know you're in the cabinet, so that means you have the governor's ear. i hope that the governor will understand that these are people who are suffering. and that the $30 million that he's asked for, i guess yesterday and then there's i guess a $28 million that was
already signed, is that right? or is that all part of the same thing? >> no, sir. there's almost $38 million that has been allocated already to this, and this would be on top of that. and i would certainly not pre-empt the governor's budget, but understands that there's more to be done. >> i understand, i'm not trying to get you to do that. but i would ask you to send a message to him in case he's not looking, i'm sure he is. but the thing i asked you about the water bills, that's insult to injury. if i'm being poisoned, and i can't wash with the water, i can't drivg the water and then you're going to make me pay for the water, that doesn't make any sense. but again, thank you all. and mr. chairman, i'm looking forward to our continued efforts. it's not about a gotcha, i swear to god. it's not. it's about what happened. you got3yñ to know what happeneo you can correct it so hopefully it doesn't happen again. miss walters, thank you very
much. your children are in our prayers. you said something about, you did a reading and it was higher than i guess particles per billion. it was higher than hazardous waste, is that what you said? >> yes, the levels of lead in my daughter were higher than hazardous waste levels. >> that's purely unacceptable. >> i thank the gentleman. just to follow up on what mrs. cummings was talking about, mr. edwards, these people at the michigan department of environmental quality, do you feel that they were misleading people? were they providing false information? what were they doing? and who were they doing it to? >> i think it probably started innocently. i think someone forgot to follow the law, but they ignored warning sign after warning sign. the gm fiasco, miss walters' child, the hazardous waste levels of lead, and gradually step by step, they just felt
like they were covering this up. there's no question about it. you read the e-mails. they lied in writing to the epa and it was only after leeanne figured out they were not using corrosion control that they started this new story that we don't know if we have to have corrosion control. so, i think the written record is quite clear on this. >> they were telling that to the epa, what about to the governor's office and other state officials? >> it's very clear to me that i mislead the epidemiologists who were looking at that, the very first thing they did was to reach out to these mdq employees and say, is there something wrong with the water and the talking points, the notes from that memo from the epidemiologist basically repeated one lie after another after another about the actual situation in flint. when you're a scientist and you have been misled so fundamentally by someone in a position of trust, that skews your interpretation.
so i have criticized what the health department did and the fact that they never told the governor about this spike in elevated lead that was occurring. and i have talked about their unethical behavior in the month of september when they refused to share data with me and dr. mona about the lead-poisoned children. but you have to, when you look at the efficacy of this, you have to look at what they were told, and i fault them, but the blame lies with these three or four employees who were actively misleading everyone. and i go back to mr. rauling who took a lot of criticism and of it very justifiable. but if you're a mayor of a town in flint and you reach out to susan headman, the top cop in the region, and she tells you, nothing is wrong, and a few days later, you go on television, drinking the water, to tell everyone it's safe, who's to blame for that? certainly mayor rauling has taken his share of the blame for
being overly trusting of the top epa cop in the region, for apologizing for this memo and not telling that there's anything wrong going on in flint. but the bulk of the blame for that particular episode has to lie with susan headman. >> and to my colleagues, think about it, there's more than two million federal employees, the overwhelming majority, they're good, quality, hard-working, patriotic people, i say that time and time again. >> absolutely. >> but what we haven't done as a congress, with oversight of the administration, and again, you can find examples on democratic and republican administrations, okay, but when we have these types of bad apples in place, they tend to rise to the surface, so much so that we had a hearing about this in july, saying, this is a problem. and nothing but nothing was done about it. and it festered in other areas
that rose to our level, that we became so serious that we had a hearing, but it was obviously, when you have that kind of approach, you see this happen time and time again. so this has been a very valuable hearing. miss walters, god bless you. i'm so sorry that you've had to go through this. i can't even begin to tell you how much we hope and pray for your family and for the thousands of other families that you represent. so you've had some sort of strength that you got somewhere. i believe it's not just a coincidence, that you get that kind of strength that's representative and making the people of michigan proud. so keep it up. mr. edwards, thank you for your good work. you've been tenacious on this. thankful for virginia tech for funding you and allowing you to do this good work, and being the
kind of expert across the country and very helpful to this commissi committee. mr. creagh, you didn't need this in your life. you've had a strong career. you've served the state of michigan honorably. i've heard praise from both sides of the aisle. you're in a very difficult spot. for you're stepping up, somehow that mantel has fallen to you. thank you for your participation and the work that you do here. mr. beauvais, you seem like a very fine gentleman who cares deeply about not only the government, but you care about the country and these people as well. my frustration is with the organization, the lack of accountability, the lack of follow-through. somehow we got to plow past the talking points and everything they try to train you to say when you come before congress and just get to the truth and the naked reality of it.
that's what i think most of the employees at the epa wants, it's what the congress wants, we represent the people. we represent the people of the united states. so i'm glad you're in this position. i think you're part of the solution, not part of the problem. that's my experience. that's my starting point. i think all four of you are part of the solution, not part of the problem. but we have a problem and we've got to clean it up. and i also want to appreciate and thank mr. killedy for his passion on this. he's been working on this for sometime. and glad that he was able to testify here today. this committee stands adjourned. [ inaudible ]
emergency manager early? >> we've served him a subpoena. >> we tried to do it the polite way through his attorney, his attorney is refusing to accept service and we have u.s. marshals that serve subpoenas if that's the way he wants it, that's the way he'll get it. >> how unprecedented is it? >> it's bad form, it's usually not needed but people that will be difficult that's what happens. >> what about the governor? you heard all the cries here that governor snyder should be called to testify. are you discussed it with this governor? are you prepared to change your mind on him? >> there's a lot of people we want to hear from. we had the governor's representative here. i thought he was very productive to do that. we'll digest this hearing and look at the documents provided by the epa and plow through the e-mails and have depositions that are done including the emergency manager who was there on the ground. that's very thorough. >> so, you haven't made a final decision? >> look, i'll keep all options open, but i have made no final
decision. >> some would suggest you're giving him a pass, you're a republican, he's a republican. >> i'm the republican that called the hearing holding people accountable at all levels, so i'm proud of the fact that we did it. you saw today it was a very bipartisan approach and it will continue to do so. [ inaudible question ] i really do wonder if not only if people should be fired but if some people should be put in jail. you had some pretty strong testimony today that people were falsifying records and misleading people to protect their own hides rather than exposing the truth. we take that very seriously and i hope the department of justice is looking at it. >> do you feel the same way about state officials? >> i'm not trying to make any dffin qualification as to who they work for. that could happen at the local, state or federal level. we hope to get to that point and make a final determination, but that should certainly be part of the consideration given the testimony we heard.
>> no guarantees about a second hearing. >> we'll take it one step at a time. i know it's sort of a trite saying but we had the hearing. >> you were going to say one -- >> all cliches all the time. >> will the e-mails will be releasing publicly? >> i'm sorry? >> the e. m-mails that will be released from the epa be released to the public? >> we try to make everything as public as we can. >> will be subpoenaing susan hedman as well? >> i signed before of them before the hearing. >> can you say a little bit more about epa's -- >> i've got a meeting with the speaker and there's a food chain around here. i'm sorry? >> how about the lack of forthcomingness from the epa in terms of what happened? a lot of documents were out there a long time and there were some questions about why did they tell deq they didn't have to say that they'd received this report and whatnot. >> epa has agreed to give us a
host of documents by the end of the week. we'll see how true they are to their word, you know, the de -- the epa employee susan hedman retiring was not expected but that happens. so, we'll take it. but she's going to come and we're going to go through a deposition, which is oftentimes, you know, an eight-hour type of experience with trained attorneys asking questions for long periods of time under oath. one thing that our committee does that others don't do is you do these under oath. so, it will be an active part of our investigation. >> so, could that be the way you resolve hedman and darnell early? >> i don't know. until you do the deposition you don't know. i got to -- one more and i got to go. >> you talked about focusing on epa because that's the committee's authority sits. but you're subpoenaing darnell early. why subpoena him and not governor snyder? >> we're going to -- we focused on those first. we had this hearing. there are people at the city, state, and federal level that
are involved and engaged in that. so, we're looking at all of them. we haven't excluded anyone. all right, thank you. >> thank you very much. appreciate it. well, coming up live this evening hillary clinton and senator bernie sanders speaking at a new hampshire democratic party dinner. it's taking place in manchester, new hampshire. ahead of that state's first in the nation primary on tuesday. see it live beginning at 7:00 p.m. eastern on our companion
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move us forward. >> i'm hillary clinton. and i approved this message. c-span's campaign 2016 is taking you on the road to the white house. >> let's go win the nomination! thank you all! >> thank you and god bless you! >> in iowa, c-span brought you candidate speeches -- >> thank you all very much. >> thank you, folks. >> -- meet-and-greets, town halls, and live caucus coverage. this week c-span is on the ground in new hampshire following the candidates, leading up to the first in the nation primary. live election coverage starts tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, on c-span, c-span radio and cspan.org. in his state of the state address south dakota governor dennis daugaard outlined his latest agenda for the year and he talked about expanding
thank you very much. thank you. thank you very much. welcome back to pierre, everyone. before i begin today we have three new legislators who have joined us since last year, and i'd ask senator bill sharma and scott feegand and stan hartford to stand so we can welcome you. welcome. i'd like to begin today by talking about education funding. a year ago i created the blue ribbon task force on teachers and students to look in to the important issues of education funding and teacher pay. this task force included educators, some of you members
of my administration and members of the public. the task force undertook an extensive process of seeking public input. task force members organized or attended dozens of meetings and sought feedback from thousands of south dakotans. they heard an overwhelming message. the public believes we need to be bold and to act to address teacher salaries this year. following that public input, the task force held five daylong public meetings to consider data, discuss policy options and ultimately to make recommendations. and i want to thank the task force members for their very thorough work. the final report makes thoughtful recommendations and is an excellent overview of this topic. the key to student achievement is an effective teacher. we all know that. it's the number one factor that we can control.