DETROIT (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday called for an investigation of how his health department handled an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area as well as high lead levels among residents who were drinking tainted water from the Flint River.
Snyder was briefed on an "internal review" of the Department of Health and Human Services and now wants the agency's inspector general and Michigan's auditor general to quickly launch a broader investigation, spokesman Ari Adler said.
Adler declined to release the review to The Associated Press or explain what was specifically troubling to the governor. He said no one at the health department was suspended.
"I want some answers," Snyder, a Republican, said in a statement.
Investigations related to a disastrous decision to use the Flint River for 18 months are piling up. A task force already is looking at the health department and the Department of Environmental Quality, which had a crucial role in overseeing water quality in Flint. Separately, Attorney General Bill Schuette has hired a team to conduct a criminal probe, and federal authorities are also on the beat.
Water not treated properly caused lead to leach from old plumbing in Flint, population roughly 100,000. Residents now are using bottled water or filtered water.
In 2014-15, nine people died and dozens more became ill from Legionnaires' disease in Genesee County. The Snyder administration was aware of the outbreak but never informed the public until two months ago.
Experts believe the Flint River was the source of Legionella bacteria, although no definitive link has been made.
A Flint-area lawmaker scoffed at Snyder's latest call.
"I'm baffled as to how Gov. Snyder can continue to push for investigations of departments that carried out his wishes, and then blame them for operating in a departmental culture he created," said Sen. Jim Ananich, the leader of Senate Democrats.
Earlier Friday, a liberal group critical of Snyder filed a complaint with the secretary of state over his plan to use $1.2 million in public money for legal fees tied to the Flint water crisis. Progress Michigan said the governor should create a legal defense fund with private money as he faces many lawsuits and other scrutiny.
Adler said Snyder was confident that he's following the rules.
AP reporter Michael Gerstein in Lansing, Mich., contributed to this story.
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