The Latest: State workers have been getting water for a year

AP News
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Posted: Jan 28, 2016 6:38 PM
The Latest: State workers have been getting water for a year

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The latest on Flint's water crisis and efforts to fix the problem of lead in the drinking water (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

An official says the state of Michigan has offered fresh bottled water at a state building in Flint for a year — although residents were told not to worry about their tap water until last fall.

Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for the agency that manages state buildings, says the water coolers began in January 2015 after Flint had flunked some drinking water standards apart from the lead contamination that has caused the current crisis.

He says the water coolers still are supplied to a state building in Flint. Employees can also use the drinking fountains.

Buhs says it was a decision "we made as the building owner."

A liberal group critical of Gov. Rick Snyder released state emails Thursday that described how water was being provided to the building.

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5:05 p.m.

Emails released by a liberal group critical of Gov. Rick Snyder show the state was sending bottled water a year ago to state employees in Flint.

The water came at a time when Flint announced it had flunked some drinking water standards apart from the lead contamination that has spoiled tap water and caused a crisis.

The state told employees at a state building in Flint that they could use a water cooler or the drinking fountain.

Lonnie Scott of Progress Michigan says Snyder's administration was taking care of employees while Flint residents were being told to not worry about tap water.

Melanie Brown, a spokeswoman at the Department of Environmental Quality, couldn't immediately say for how long the state provided water.

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4:30 p.m.

Officials have announced new recycling efforts in Flint in response to the heavy use of bottled water and filters because of lead-contaminated tap water.

The new steps were announced Thursday at a fire station that's doubling as a water distribution site.

Matt Flechter, a recycling specialist with the state of Michigan, says residents are concerned about the impact of bottles on the environment.

National Guard members at the fire station handed out water and plastic bags that residents can use for bottles that don't fit into curbside bins. Residents also can use the bags for recycling if they don't have a bin.

Flint used the Flint River for 18 months but didn't add corrosion control to the water. As a result, lead has leached from old pipes.

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2:35 p.m.

A state board has rejected petitions to recall Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder over his handling of Flint's lead-contaminated water.

The Board of State Canvassers rejected the petitions Thursday, 4-0. The board says the reasons for a recall must be clear and factual, under Michigan law. If they're not, no one can gather signatures to force a recall election.

Flint resident Quincy Murphy wants to recall Snyder for "failing to protect the health and safety" of the citizens of Flint. Snyder attorney John Pirich says that's opinion, not fact.

If petitions were approved, the Detroit Free Press (http://on.freep.com/1WPXKYn ) says Snyder's opponents would have to collect about 790,000 signatures in a 60-day period to force an election.

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1 p.m.

The Michigan Legislature has unanimously approved $28 million in additional funding to address the lead contamination of Flint's water.

The emergency spending bill includes money for more bottled water and filters and services to monitor for developmental delays in young children. The funds also will help the city with unpaid water bills and cover testing, monitoring and other costs.

It is the second round of state funding allocated since the lead contamination was confirmed in the fall.

State regulators permitted Flint to not treat water for corrosion after the city switched its supply in 2014. That allowed lead from old pipes to leach into the water.

Gov. Rick Snyder has promised to set aside more funding for Flint in his upcoming budget proposal.

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12:10 p.m.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver are meeting with area pastors in the city dealing with lead-tainted drinking water.

Snyder said at the beginning of Thursday's meeting it's important for officials to engage with residents as much as possible.

Outside the mayor's offices, where the meeting was taking place, Lila Cabbil (LIE'-luh KAB'-uhl) of the People's Water Board and Lynna Kaucheck (LIN'-uh KAW-'chek) of Food and Water Watch showed off the 21,000-plus petition signatures they were delivering.

They want a moratorium on water bills for Flint residents, arguing people shouldn't have to pay for water they can't use or sickens them.

State regulators permitted Flint to not treat water for corrosion after the city switched its supply in 2014. That allowed lead from old pipes to leach into the water.

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11:45 a.m.

U.S. Senate Democrats are introducing a measure to provide up to $400 million in new federal funding to replace and fix lead-contaminated pipes in Flint, Michigan.

The bill also requires federal action if a state refuses to warn the public about unsafe water and authorizes $20 million a year to monitor lead exposure in Flint.

Democratic Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan were expected to offer the measure Thursday as an amendment to a Senate energy bill.

Flint's water became contaminated when the financially-struggling city switched from the Detroit municipal system and began drawing from the Flint River in 2014 to save money.

Regulators failed to ensure the water was treated properly and lead from pipes leached into the supply, leading to a spike in child lead exposure.

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11 a.m.

The Michigan Senate has unanimously approved $28 million in additional funding to address the lead contamination of Flint's water.

The emergency spending bill includes money for more bottled water and filters and services to monitor for developmental delays in young children. The funds also will help the city with unpaid water bills and cover testing, monitoring and other costs.

It is the second round of state funding allocated since the lead contamination was confirmed in the fall.

The House is expected to send the legislation to Gov. Rick Snyder later Thursday.

State regulators permitted Flint to not treat water for corrosion after the city switched its supply in 2014. That allowed lead from old pipes to leach into the water.

Snyder has promised to set aside more funding for Flint in his upcoming budget proposal.

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9:10 a.m.

Tom Gores, a Flint native and owner of the Detroit Pistons, is pledging to raise $10 million to address the short- and long-term needs of his Michigan hometown, where the drinking water is contaminated with lead.

Gores said in a statement Thursday he has appointed two associates to raise money from other business leaders and identify priorities in Flint.

Gores, who is chairman of Los Angeles-based Platinum Equity, also will contribute. He says Flint once was a "cornerstone of American industry," and that people "from coast to coast" need to step up.

Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem and Platinum Equity partner Mark Barnhill will lead the effort.

Barnhill says the residents' immediate needs are important but that long-term opportunities in Flint will also be explored, such as small business assistance.

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2 a.m.

The Michigan Legislature is poised to approve $28 million in additional funding to address the lead contamination of Flint's water.

The emergency spending bill up for final voting Thursday includes money for more bottled water and filters and services to monitor for developmental delays in young children. The funds also will help the city with unpaid water bills and cover testing, monitoring and other costs.

It is the second round of state funding allocated since the lead contamination was confirmed in the fall.

State regulators permitted Flint to not treat water for corrosion after the city switched its supply in 2014. That allowed lead from old pipes to leach into the water.

Gov. Rick Snyder has promised to propose more funding for Flint in his upcoming budget proposal.