U.S. rep. wants hearing on Flint water crisis

Potentially lead-tainted water flows from a kitchen sink tap in Flint in January 2016.

FLINT, Mich. (WOOD) — A U.S. representative from southeast Michigan has asked a House committee to hold a hearing on the water crisis in Flint.

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, wants the House Oversight Committee to take up the issue. She says local and state officials knew or should have known about the health risks before they switched to the Flint River for their water.

“This public health crisis was caused by state and local officials, who made tragically bad decisions with the drinking water of Flint,” Lawrence stated in a Thursday release. “Congressional oversight is needed to set things right, on behalf of the people of Flint and on behalf of future generations. Anything less than that would demonstrate gross negligence in providing the services that our constituents need and deserve.”

The switch, an effort to save money, happened in April 2014 while the city was under the control of a governor-appointed emergency manager. The highly corrosive river water damaged the city’s aging pipes, causing them to draw lead that was then sent to people’s homes. The problem persisted even after Flint switched back to Detroit’s water system in October 2015.

>>PDF: Timeline of events in Flint

Exposure to lead can cause behavior problems and learning disabilities in children and various illnesses in adults.

“We must ensure that we take the appropriate steps to ensure that similar situations do not occur elsewhere,” Lawrence said in her statement. “This hearing should examine the actions of key decision-makers who played a role in the development of this completely avoidable crisis.”

A source tells 24 Hour News 8 Political Reporter Rick Albin that the hearing hasn’t yet been scheduled, but may happen.

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