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tv   Hearing on Flint Michigan Water Contamination  CSPAN  December 29, 2016 12:58am-1:52am EST

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television to blame thousands of $12 an hour employees who were just trying to make cross sale quotas that made you rich. this is about accountability. you should resign. you should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on, and you should be by thelly investigated department of justice and the sec. we will also look back at a senate hearing with top executives from the cable and satellite industry. they were called to testify about a report on cable and satellite companies overcharging customers for equipment and services. we will show you portions of all of these hearings tonight, but keep in mind that you can always watch them in their entirety any time at our website, c-span.org. with thein tonight flint, michigan water contamination hearing.
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for more on the issue, we talked to a capitol hill reporter. know when really knew something was wrong. the public did not find out about the lead in their water until the fall of 2015. that is when advisory started to go out and suggested that s start drinking bottled water and basic kids and bottled
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water. and how did congress get involved in the flint water issue? 2015, there was a realization that something had gone wrong in flint and there was a lot of questions about how something like this could happen, whose fault it was, whether the government, the state, the city, the fed, who should have prevented this, and trying to figure out what they needed to do to make sure something like this did not happen again. >> there has been a number of hearings. the house oversight committee held a number of hearings. how many did they hold? ms. burke: in february-march, three hearings with all sorts of anyers, and there was additional hearing held by the energy and commerce committee under congressman fred upton and april. >> what was the state of michigan asking from the federal
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government? ms. burke: governor rick snyder was at that point submitting a request to president obama for about $98 million worth of assistance to respond to the crisis for things like bottled help fixingrs, also flints damaged water lines and pipes in the city, and he was also supportive of the michigan congressional delegation, which was pushing for upwards of almost $600 million worth of emergency aid from congress to again help with infrastructure fixes, help get those lead pipes out of the ground in flint. >> in a few moments, we will watch the house oversight committee hearing talk about the flint, michigan water problem. who testifies in this particular
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hearing, and what does congress want to learn? ms. burke: the people testifying will be the administrator of the environmental protection agency, gina mccarthy, and the michigan governor, rick snyder, who is a , members ofand they congress had a lot of questions for them and wanted to know what went wrong, whose fault it was, why things weren't taking care of earlier, why they did not listen to experts, why they were not hearing some of the early warning from residents complaining about their muddy looking and smelly water. tell us how politics plays into the questioning of these witnesses? ms. burke: from the beginning, flint was really unfortunate became a blame game. will hear in the hearings is that democrats were really critical of the state of michigan, which is of course led
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by a republican governor and run by a republican majority legislature. they wanted to know again why the residents weren't listen to, why their complaints were dismissed, and why some outside experts who try to sound the alarm early on were dismissed and not listen to earlier on. on the republican side, they focus on the epa, on administrative mccarthy. they said the epa had botched its oversight rules here and that they should have stepped in earlier when the state was not doing what it should have been doing, and they were also critical of the regulatory had, the rulespa governing levels of lead in drinking water, those have not been updated in many years and are overdue for revision. >> let's watch. here is part of that hearing, beginning with questions from
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matt cartwright of pennsylvania. >> you do admit that you and your administration have failed the people of flint. do also admit that here today? >> yes, and i took actions immediately. >> your task force found that your officials did not implement corrosion control, which "led directly to the contamination of the flint water system. do you admit that here today? >> the lack of erosion controls led to this issue. >> and you admit that it was
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your officials that did not implement corrosion controls which led to that, right? >> they did not instruct the city of flint to do corrosion controls. >> is that a yes? that is a city responsibility, but they failed and common sense. they should have. >> did you per se receive a letter on january 18, 2015 from flynn's mayor begging you to take action and warning "there is nothing more important in flint right now that fixing the water problem." do admit receiving that letter? from theived a letter mayor and took action on items within that letter. about januaryyou 18, 2015. this is exhibit d. >> could you share of the letter
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with me so i can confirm that? >> would you hand the letter to him. it is marked exhibit d. we will ask this made part of the record, mr. chairman. theary 18, 2015 from mayor, last paragraph on the second page, directed to you specifically, and he says there is nothing more important in flint right now than fixing the water problem. do you see that? do admit getting that letter? >> yes. >> the mayor asked you repeatedly to come to flint. you admit today that you did not show up for more than seven months after he asked you. >> i am not familiar. i would have to check my schedule. >> you did not go to flint until october 2015? >> i do not know. >> you admit to seeing headline after headline about health problems, hair loss, rashes, e. coli, bacteria, sewage, legionnaires disease.
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did you read any of those stories mr. schneider? a number of those stories. we would follow up on them and get reaffirmation from career bureaucrats that the water was safe. that was wrong. you admit that more cases of legionnaires disease were than all the cases in the last five years or more combined? do you admit that? and that's why i provided a table that shows none of these cases were at health care facilities. there were 87 cases -- here today that even after the whole world knew that flint had been exposed to unimaginable levels of lead, you did not declare state of emergency until january 2016. is that true? , bloodtarted issuing testing, water testing, i wish more -- >> plausible deniability only
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works when it is plausible, and i am not buying that you did not know anything about this until october 2015. you are not in a medically and his coma for a year, and i have had about enough of your false contrition and phony up alleges. not 1/10 of the responsibility of the state of michigan and your ministration, and she resigned, and there you , drawinging with guilt your paycheck, hiring lawyers at the expense of the people, and doing your dead level best to spread accountability to others and not being accountable. it is not appropriate. pretty soon we will have men who strike their wives saying, i am sorry, dear, but there were failures that are levels. people who put dollars over the fundamental safety of the people do not belong in government, and you need to resign to, governor
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snyder. ideal back. >> we now recognize the gentleman from michigan. mr. chairman, administrative mccarthy, and i would like to welcome you governor snyder and for your willingness to appear before this committee. spoke about the broken culture at many of the agencies and state governments. how are are you working to change the culture within the agencies, specifically the michigan department of environmental quality that were negligent or reckless and failed the citizens of flint? i accepted the resignation of the department director, and put in perspective that this is a director who had served under two prior governors with distinction, but there was this issue and it was time to accept his resignation. under civil service rules, we terminated the head of the
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made the the one that terrible decisions with their team to say it should be 26 month studies instead of corrosion controls. she was a 28 year veteran of the department. are going to change this culture. a bureaucratic culture that focuses on technical compliance and does not have a sense of urgency should not be serving our citizens. there are many good hard-working people that do work for the state of michigan, 47,000, and i am committed to finding the instances where these people have not gotten the idea that we work for the citizens and i will be relentless and following up to make sure we make the changes necessary that this never happens again whether it is a water area or any area of our state. >> did state employees intentionally withhold information from you? that was thelieve case. what i would also say is we had a report from the office of the auditor general that responded to the senator that one of their
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conclusions was i don't believe they found any willful misrepresentation. doing to make sure state employees communicate with you, especially regarding issues of great importance like the people of flint? >> i stood up in front of the entire state of michigan in my state of the state address and said these people that made these terrible decisions that showed a clear lack of common sense failed us. since they work for me, i am responsible for their actions, and i take that responsibility and kick myself every single day about what i could have done to do more. i titled the people of michigan that there is a commitment, a passionate commitment to say we are going to change the culture in these places. i apologize to the people of flint. they deserve that. i understand why they are angry. it is terrible what they are having to go through, but i made a commitment to fix the problem. i can't take some damage as done
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as ranking member cummings said, but there is a lot we can do to help the people of flint address the issues, and i am committed to do that come and we are following through and getting that done. i am going back to flint tomorrow to roll up my sleeves and keep working that issue. what is the expected state surplus and how much will be spent on helping the people of flint? of surplus, we are going through two or three steps. a total ofd for a tol $232 million to help address issues in flint, covering all system and the water infrastructure to nutrition health, well-being, economic development, all these fields to do whatever we can possible in terms of improving things in flint. several of these things have passed legislature. for 160 $5 million that
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would have been a rainy day was deposit to go in a fund. let's start setting aside to put aside the resources saying we have a national problem. let's get these lead pipes out of the ground and look at setting the right standards. called it dumb and dangerous. it is. in michigan, i will be proposing legislation. i will be pushing to do everything to put a much more stringent standard in because the people of our state and country deserve better than they are getting today. i have a question for administrative mccarthy. had not resigned, would you have fired her? know, susan took the choice to submit her resignation knowing that people would question whether that meant she accepted some type of guilt a responsibility for this.
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she fully accepted responsibility for the situation, resigned, and i accepted that resignation. i thought it was the right step for her to take. would you have fired her? >> i did not have to face that decision, sir. >> gentlemen, time has expired. >> i now recognize the gentle and from florida for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, members of the committee, i think a lot more failed in flint than the water. it is a failed city. we have many in michigan, but across the country. since we started these hearings, i have talked to staff, and we have gotten information that probably dozens of communities are facing the same thing, and they are coming forward and saying that they have unsafe drinking water and high levels
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kids are beingr poisoned. governor, you did take some action and some people have been fired is that correct? >> correct. had,guess the flint water several others, and you suspended other people, is that correct? >> correct. everyone shares some blame, including yourself, right? >> correct. is, first ofrbs me , administrator mccarthy, you had the ability to act when you found out that things aren't going right in these systems. you have the compliance authority under law, don't you? >> yes, sir. >> and who was fired or held accountable in epa?
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was anyone fired? >> no, sir. >> in fact, what disturbs me, i checked to see, he was underneath you as a regional administrator, she was getting vacation time bonuses, got the 28. one may the regional administrator is getting vacation half time bonuses while the kids are getting poisoned. she finally resigned herself. you never fired anyone. you have great people working in epa. >> thank you. >> mr. dell perot should get a congressional gold medal. walters, she blew the whistle and came to the local authorities. we had the mayor in here. she told me and her 2015 that
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he left the labor and promised to do everything. she went to city hall at the beginning of april and no one would see her. she was put off, and to the day of the hearing the other day, the mayor had never talked to , and i said this, now you are pretty experience. you had the epa. you can read the report. it is incredibly accurate. ais is dated in june, and not unitlthing was done and tel january of this year. i went back and asked mrs. walters, when did they finally come in, because the mayor and others and your epa administrator from the district immediately.
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they did not act. they gag mr. dell perot. did you ever see this report? when did you see the report? >> i don't recall the exact date. >> in june last summer? >> did you see this report? a high school student could take this report and determine the kids were getting poisoned. he confirmed it. he tested everything, the pipes, looked at the league lines. thorough examination, then he detailed all of the flint, this failure of violations going back, and you told me you have the authority, and you had the compliance authority. shut these programs down or go after them? >> sir, we -- >> you did not. you did not. no one acted. i heard calls for resignation. i think you should be at the top of the list.
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job, they failed at the local level. they failed at the state level, and we failed at the federal level, and who is in charge? a vacation bonus, kids get lead poisoning, and you are still in office. mr. chairman, ideal back. >> thank you for the opportunity to answer? . >> you are welcome. >> did you have something you wanted to say? >> it would be good if i could. it is important to know that when we found out finally because the mdeq told us on april 24 prior to that that there was no corrosion control treatment, reversing what they had earlier told us, that they did corrosion control in the system, that we had already told mdeq that they actually had to touire the city of flint move ahead with the erosion control treatment.
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well in advance of that memo. >> let her finish. >> thank you. that sameently said thing. that is the report on three same area.e because of the complexity of lead, we did not and could not have made a concerted judgment about whether it was a systemic problem. when we had the information, received it from mdeq, which was not until july 21, we told them we are done talking. we now know it is a systemic problem. you do it or we will do it. they said we will do it, and since that point in time, mdeq slow walk to everything they needed to do that precluded us from being able to jump into the rescue. that is what happened, and if people are worried about whether we silenced miguel to throw.
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he remains a central part of our decision-making and is one of our experts that we rely on. wassimple fact is that mdeq the one who told everybody that he was a rogue employee, discredit him, just as the mdeq was doing as the governor's task force said, trying to discredit anybody who said there was a problem with that water drinking system. armed, misled, kept at arm's length, and we could not do our jobs effectively. report, i wish's it to be included in the record at this point. >> without objection. so ordered. you just don't get it. you don't get it. you still don't get it. >> thank you. i get it. we are trying to make sure the blame is shifted here. it is interesting for a committee that has practiced techniques with management, off
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with your head. when there is a problem with op m, off with the head of the opm. of with the head of the head the armrest, lois lerner, but governor snyder apparently, my friends on the other side of the aisle one to make sure your head to securely on your shoulders. governor snyder, do you believe in the philosophy of government that says we have to push responsibility and power to the lowest level we can as close to the people as we can? >> as a general rule, yes. in november 2012, the citizens of your state rejected the emergency manager lloyd you had advocated in a referendum, is that correct? >> correct. >> and yet, six weeks later, you thatroduced legislation
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was approved by the republican-controlled legislature for a new emergency manager law, is that correct? law that took into account the concerns of the citizens and it was passed by the duly elected legislature that represents the people of michigan. law allowed you to bypass the local governments of the city of flint and appoint an emergency manager to act for and in place of the governor of the governing body and the office of the chief administrative officer of the local government "from the law." is that correct? >> you said generally. in this case, there was failure in terms of city management. >> i appreciate it, did you appoint an emergency manager pursuant to that law? >> yes. >> that meant the mayor and city council could not exercise any powers in less he let them, is that correct? >> initially, yes. >> last week, our committee
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staff travel to flint and conducted a transcribed interview of the last emergency manager pointed -- you appointed , gerald ambrose. you appointed, not miss mccarthy. we asked if he considered the city council impotent during his tenure. his answer on the record was "absolutely." many pages ofw edicts were appointed by your emergency managers in this tragedy, governor? >> no, but let me respond -- >> hold on. let me show you. i only have five minutes. ladies and gentlemen, hold them up, please. ictse are the stacks of ed issued by your emergency managerss, you know how many of with 8000 pages dealt
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meaningful steps to protect the citizens of flint from lead flowing through their pipes, governor? your appointees. >> no. >> not one. not one. >> congressman, i entreat you -- >> wait a minute, governor, but i would give you all the time in the world. this is a failure of governance. evidence, even after you were warned by the mayor of flint, they have problems and he begged you to come to flint. you ignored him. we have no evidence of you traveling to flint for seven months, governor. seven months. you are sorry now. i am glad you are taking action now. it is a little bit late for the kids in flint, whose health has been compromised, for people whose health and in unity systems were already compromised
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, for a city in america that is on its knees because of your emergency manager decision to say $4 million, and now it will cost a lot more to clean up, and thataint and the stain state government has put on this country in the form of flint will be a long time being raised. , thenow, at some point buck stops at your office, governor, with your department of environmental quality that collapse, with your emergency managers guilty of hubris. they knew better than the local elected officials of flint and ignored all the warning signs. that is the record, governor. that is your record. at some point, the buck has to stop at your desk. >> we now recognize the gym and
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from tendency for five minutes. you, mr. chairman, before i'd yield my time to mr. wahlberg, i would ask administrator macarthur to consider scrapping the waters of the u.s. rule as it is clear the epa can certainly not handle the issues, and i use my time to the gentleman from michigan. >> i think the general men from tennessee. 26, 2015, miss mccarthy, you received in the , director of the epa's office of groundwater and drinking water. is toint of the email share mark edwards documentation of the flint drinking water problems. the email isn asking the epa to "immediately take decisive action on this issue to protect the public." did you read the september 25 email that included mark edwards
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request for action? >> i did. >> dr. edwards is familiar to this committee and the people of flint. you know who mark edwards is? >> yes, we have met. >> you have met? >> we had a meeting. >> how long if you known of dr. edwards and his work? weit is related to flanker have a contract to do work with us right now. >> you believe mark edwards is a next for it on water treatment and corrosion? >> he is one of the experts, yes i'm a bit epa has a number. >> the edwards email, including mr. del toro, the emailed gives a summary at the end documenting that there is no corrosion control treatment, that people cannot afford bottled water, mdeq is continuing to insist the water is safe, and they know of a child with elevated blood levels already.
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in gmailceived documenting all of these problems on september 25, including the fact that children have elevated blood lead levels, why did you not act until january 21, 2016? >> you are incorrect in saying -- >> i am not incorrectly or we have records as well. continue to not take responsibility, including writing articles about it. dr. edwards is an expert on this issue. >> he is. >> the people of flint understand that. he has in there. you did not even show up until february of this year, and i remind members on the other side of the aisle that this administrator of the epa did not show up until february. dr. edward said and in testimony before this committee, susan hedman, you would not fire, you would not even give an answer if you would, that her response was completely
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unacceptable and criminal. said.s what mr. edwards please tell the people of flint sitting behind you and this committee why mark edwards is wrong. edwards is a good scientist and i respect him. if you look at the timeline of when we receive that email, you will find that the city and county health advisory gina mccarthy: mark edwards is a good scientist, and i respect him. if you look at the timeline of when we received that e-mail, you will find that the city and county health advisory about the flint water went out on the same day. you will find that october 1, they were noticed to have no drinking of that water without protection. you will find on october 2, the governor put out a 10 point plan. on october 3, the filters were being distributed. i cannot -- there is no switch i can turn on. rep. desjarlais: i am hearing nothing of your action on that, and you have the law on your side that says in any, any event of imminent danger or health
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risk, you have the responsibility to act. you wrote an op-ed. excuse me. i am not -- i will give you a chance. you wrote an op-ed in the "washington post," which stated the epa regional office was also provided with confusing, incomplete, and incorrect information. ms. mccarthy: yes. >> as a result, the epa staff members were unable to understand the scope of the lead problem until more than a year after the switch to untreated water. did the epa confirm in early 2015 that flint's water pipes lacked corrosion control? ms. mccarthy: no, i did not know that. the staff were unaware of that. rep. walberg: they were unaware of that? ms. mccarthy: they were told by mdeq -- rep. walberg: what about mr. del toro who was disciplined? ms. mccarthy: he was not. rep. walberg: yes he was.
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ms. mccarthy: ok. rep. walberg: that is a matter of record as well. ms. mccarthy: i am sorry, that is not. rep. walberg: dr. edward said some of the documents received from it epa, they were 90% redacted. dr. edwards waited 10 years, how is this acceptable from an expert? rep. chaffetz: gentleman's time is expired, but you maybe answer. ms. mccarthy: the report i issued in january was because of continued failure to address the issue. if there is anything i could have done, and switch i could turn on that would have precluded us, allowed us to go further than was already happening at that time, i would have pulled that switch. what we needed was exactly starting. were we late in getting it done? yes. our there consequences? absolutely. are there consequences? absolutely. our regional administrator worked very hard to get mdeq to do their job and get these actions in place. so when you ask if i received an
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email on a given date, i did. the actions were moving, there was nothing else they could have order to make the move faster. i did issue an order in january, because even after all of this, the order that i issued was questioned by this state, by mdeq, by the state. was that really, legally solid? up until today, they continue to drag their feet. rep. chaffetz: go ahead, governor. governor snyder: i am sorry mr. chairman, you can only take so much at some point. all i can do is go to the record. what i would suggest is that people look at three emails. there is an email going back to june 8, 2015 from jennifer crux from the epa as an agenda from michigan semiannual call. there is an email from july 20 from hyde, a briefing
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paper with the mdeq talking about the federal lead and copper role, including flint water. and then a joint strategic plan with the mdeq and the epa working together. they were in regular dialogue. they were talking about how to do things together. when i read these things, i am ready to get sick. we needed urgency and action and they just keep on talking. it is not about fighting. they are just not getting the job done. we messed up in michigan to begin with by doing two studies instead of corrosion control. that fundamentally caused this problem. i have accepted responsibility for the people that worked for me, but it is something different to have this continuing dialogue to say it was solely us, this could have been stopped sooner if other people could have also spoken up. i kick myself that our people should have spoken up, i should have asked tougher questions, i should have done more.
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what to also say, the epa just did not get the information? i just ask you to take the time and go look at those three emails, and that will clear the record up. rep. chaffetz: thank you. appreciate it. we now recognize the ranking member. rep. cummings: you have represented a department that you were unaware of disaster building in flint until october 2015. i find it hard to believe that a crisis of this magnitude completely escaped your attention for so long. it is clear that your senior staff, people that report directly to you daily, where very aware of what was taking place in flint. october 12, 2014, one of your top advisers wrote an email to your chief of staff saying, as you know, there have been problems with the flint water quality since they left the wsve system, which was a decision by the emergency manager there. i think we should ask the emergency manager to consider
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coming back to the detroit system in full or in part as an interim solution to both the quality and other financial problems the current solution is causing. i see this as an urgent matter to fix." governor, did your chief of staff, who i assume reported directly to you, your right hand man, did he tell you these concerns urgently needed to be fixed in october 2014? did he tell you that? gov. snyder: i don't recall. i recall during that time period we had issues. , we discussed about the color and odor of the water. there was also concern about e. coli. rep. cummings: ok, you said -- rep. walberg: there were several issues, but none of them related to lead. rep. cummings: but there was a problem with the water. did you get the email? gov. snyder: i did not get that email. rep. cummings: i remind you you are under oath. rep. cummings: to my knowledge i did not get that email. rep. cummings: i hear you.
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"after all, if the gm as in , general motors, if they refuse to use the water in their plant and our own agencies are warning people not to drink it, the differential between what we now delect and what we the ws face is now significant. we look stupid hiding behind some financial statement. did you talk to him about concerns in february 2015? gov. snyder: i can't recall, but we had continuing discussions but we had continuing dialogue about water issues, some were resolved on e. coli, and that pthm. the gm issue was a matter of chloride in the water. it was acceptable according to our experts, for human consumption. rep. cummings: although it was rusting away, brand-new, the water was rusting away brand-new parts at gm, but it was ok for human consumption?
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i do not think that was mr. early testimony, by the way. gov. snyder: ranking member cummings, these are the kind of red finds where i kick myself. i was getting advice -- rep. cummings: i want you to finish your cake. -- you kick. on march 2, 2015, the chief of staff offered the following assessment about flint. quote, "it is tough for everyday people to listen about financial issues and water mumbo-jumbo when all they see is problems. if we procrastinate much longer in doing something direct, we will have real trouble." end of quote. governor, did your chief of staff your right hand man, talk , to you back in march? gov. snyder: i cannot recall a specific discussion in march, we had ongoing discussions. and he was right to raise concerns. we took actions including the maximum grant, $2 million earlier in the year to help flint with water infrastructure.
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we also were working on getting filters. rep. cummings: i am running out of time. and i want to be obedient to the time restraints. the next day, he complained about "the lack of empathy for the residents." end of quote. again, this is your right hand man. and he specifically said, your dq director, dan wyatt, i really don't think people are getting the benefit of the doubt. now they are concerned, rightfully so, about the lead level studies they are receiving from the deq samples. these folks are scared and worried about the health impact, and they are basically getting blown off by us," end of quote. governor, did you talk to your chief of staff about those concerns? gov. snyder: i had continuing dialogues with my chief of staff and he went out and sought advice or expertise, from career bureaucrats not just in one
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department, but the department of environmental quality. the department of health and human services said they could see an elevation in blood lead a level band they are wrong. rep. cummings: there are two possibilities. either your chief of staff told you nothing about these concerns and did nothing, or he did tell you and you are an absentee governor. i yield back. rep. chaffetz: i want to recognize myself for five minutes. governor, you have apologized, correct? gov. snyder: correct. rep. chaffetz: has anyone been fired? gov. snyder: yes. rep. chaffetz: anyone dismissed or otherwise retired? gov. snyder: yes. rep. chaffetz: did the state of michigan do something wrong? gov. snyder: yes. rep. chaffetz: administrator mccarthy, did the epa do anything wrong? ms. mccarthy: i don't think we did everything right, that is the challenge i am facing. rep. chaffetz: the challenge you are facing right now is my question. my question is, did the epa do
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anything wrong? ms. mccarthy: i think we could have been -- i would hope that we would have been more aggressive. i would hope we would have escalated this issue if we could have done absolutely anything to stand on a rooftop and scream about the challenges we are having. rep. chaffetz: ok, so you're just not -- here is the fundamental difference. first of all, we have jurisdiction here in congress on the epa. i don't have jurisdiction on the governor. i have jurisdiction to call him up here, and republicans did call him up here, he volunteered to be here, and we are investigating this. this is the third hearing on this topic. but here is the fundamental difference. i hope you and everybody understands this. i see responsibility. i see people that are getting fired, i see changes. i see admissions that there was fundamental wrongs that happened in the organization, but then when i turned to the epa, has anyone been fired?
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that is a question. ms. mccarthy: no, sir. rep. chaffetz: has anyone been dismissed? ms. mccarthy: no, sir. rep. chaffetz: when the epa region five administrator there, hea had been -- season dman, the date you finally did take decisive action, when you were questioned about that, you said that her active stepping down was courageous. ms. mccarthy: i did. rep. chaffetz: i'm going to ask you again. did the epa do anything wrong? ms. mccarthy: the epa worked very hard. let me make one thing -- rep. chaffetz: no, i have another question for you. no hold on. , did the -- mark edwards has testified here twice. he does not have a dog in this fight other than he wants good quality health for people, and he wants good, clean water. and he happens to know the science behind the water. on those two hearings, did mr. edwards say anything that you think was wrong, or maybe
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inaccurate? do you think mr. edwards is that -- said anything that was wrong or inaccurate in any of those testimonies? ms. mccarthy: i think he was not at all informed about what epa did. he does not know about the law. he doesn't know how we are supposed to work in the system. he doesn't understand that the problem itself was a responsibility of the state. oversight was our responsibility. we took that seriously, and we conducted it. does that mean i don't have regrets, because i really would like -- rep. chaffetz: that is cheap. yeah we just got regrets. , that is cheap. that is cheap. ms. mccarthy: you have to look at the way the law works. rep. chaffetz: yeah, you know what and it failed. , you failed. you said, quote, "if there is any, anything i could do, you -- any switch i could pull, had that under the law, and you did not do it. ms. mccarthy: no, sir i did not have that under the law.
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rep. chaffetz: yes you did. , if there is imminent threat, you can pull that switch. ms. mccarthy: only if we also -- administrator, you are wrong. ms. mccarthy: there are two parts to that. you skipped the second. you need to have information to determine -- rep. chaffetz: why do we need an epa? i am asking the question. ms. mccarthy: ok. rep. chaffetz: yes, ok. february is when you first arrived on the scene and it was not until january of the next year that you actually did something. that is the fundamental problem. don't look around like you are mystified. miguel del toro showed up in february. you did not take action. you didn't. and you could have pulled that switch. ms. mccarthy: we took action from that point forward. rep. chaffetz: there are a lot of people in this audience from flint. no one believes that you took action. you have those levers there. mark edwards from virginia tech, bless his heart -- know, just listen for a second -- had the
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opportunity. they have said things like we failed to get epa to take lead in the water risks seriously. another quote of his. and this is possible because the epa has effectively condoned cheating on the lead copper rule monitoring since 2006. he read your op ed that you put out that is one of the most offensive things i could possibly imagine. and he said about you, the epa administrator gina mccarthy, absolves the epa of any wrongdoing or treating the flint disaster. if you want to do the courageous thing you said that susan did, then you should also resign. no one will believe you. you had the opportunity, the presence, you have the authority, the backing of the federal government, and you did not act when you have the chance. if you are going to do the courageous thing, you should also step down. >> that was about 40 minutes of the three and a half hour oversight committee. you can see all of it at c-span.org. the detroit news back
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with us again to talk about what has taken place since the hearing. has the water situation in flint improved? guest: there are some recent tests that are astonishing that show some improvement in the water, but those advisories we mentioned earlier about folks still needing to use filters on their taps and drink bottled water, those are still in place. host: did the hearings that congress held lead to any specific legislation? guest: yes, there are two things i would mention. one is on the policy side. congress clarified that for the epa's role, in cases like this in the future, when the epa learns about lead contamination in drinking water and the state agency responsible for notifying the public has not done so, the epa does have the authority to step in and notify the public itself, which it did not do in this circumstance.
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the other change is, the approved in december $170 million in funding. $100 million of that will go in grant, expected to go in grants, to flint to help them repair their damaged water lines and pipes in the city. to get those out of the ground so water can start flowing. host: that bill you just referenced on december 8, the water project bill, did come to the house floor. it included money for flint, as you mentioned. here is representative dan kildee, who represents flint, michigan, making his last pitch. that's on the floor for that legislation. dee: and a city of 100,000 people, they still cannot drink their water. this is not a question of access to water. the water flowing through the pipes in flint has poisoned that
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city. 100,000 people. 9000 children under the age of six, affected permanently by high levels of lead delivered to them from their municipal water system caused by careless, decisions based on an obsession with austerity by the state government. and then they were told the water was safe to drink when that same state government knew it was not. now look, we know where we stand. no bill is perfect, this bill is far from perfect. many of the provisions in this legislation i disagree with. but i have been fighting for my hometown and have been told to wait and wait and wait, and the people of my community can wait no longer. drinking water is a basic human right and that should be a human right exercised by people everywhere, including the people of my hometown of flint.
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every day that passes, every week that passes, every month that passes, that flint does not deserverelief they so the city failed, the city gets , more poor and poor and poor and incapable of moving forward, and that has to stop and it has to stop right now. it has to stop before this congress adjourns. we cannot count on the next congress to get this done. host: that was congressman dan kildee, whose district include a s flint, michigan. part of a larger water bill that congress approved and the president signed into law on december 16. melissa burke joining us again. a few days after the bill was approved, the chairman of the house oversight committee, jason chaffetz, close down the
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investigation into flint. why? guest: he issued to letters kind of -- two letters kind of summarizing his findings. he said the situation in flint was a result of failures at all levels of government. he singled out the state of michigan, the department of environmental quality. he said there were serious problems there in terms of misleading the epa. he said there have been significant problems with the epa, which had dragged its feet and not acted for seven months before issuing an emergency order in january of this year, 2016. so he also really came down on , the epa for not having updated its lead and copper rule, which is outdated and has not been revised for a number of years. host: so if the congressional investigation is over for now does that mean water problems in
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, flint are fixed? guest: unfortunately not, no. residents continue to drink bottled water, use filters on their taps, and it will take many years for them to try to get the lead pipes out of the ground. it is a monumental task. host: what is the latest news locally out of michigan on this issue? guest: while there was an , ongoing investigation at the attorney general's office which so far has resulted in criminal charges against 13 government employees, including four that were just announced this week. two of those individuals were former emergency managers of the city who had been appointed by governor snyder. host: you can read melissa burke at detroitnews.com. thanks very much for joining us. guest: thank you. host: and a reminder if you , would like to watch the full three and a half hour hearing on the water problems in flint, michigan, you can go to our website, www.c-span.org.

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