The Latest: Ex-EPA official: Law limited options in Flint

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Posted: Mar 15, 2016 10:36 AM
The Latest: Ex-EPA official: Law limited options in Flint

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on the lead contamination in Flint, Michigan's drinking water (all times local):

10:25 a.m.

A former Environmental Protection Agency official says federal law limited the agency's ability to act aggressively as lead leached into the water supply in Flint.

In congressional testimony Tuesday, Susan Hedman says she first learned that the Michigan city was not implementing corrosion control treatment in late June 2015, about 14 months after Flint started using untreated Flint River water.

Hedman says the agency did what it could within the framework of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which assigns states the legal authority to implement drinking water regulations.

She says EPA's enforcement options under the law are more constrained than in other federal environmental statutes.

Hedman says she resigned from the EPA Feb. 1 following "false allegations" that she downplayed concerns about lead in Flint's water.

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9:05 a.m.

A Michigan legislative committee tasked with reviewing findings and taking testimony on the mistakes that led to the lead contamination of Flint's drinking water is holding its first meeting.

The Joint Committee on the Flint Water Public Health Emergency is meeting Tuesday to begin looking into city, state and federal governmental actions related to the water crisis. It's also supposed to develop solutions.

Chairman Jim Stamas says Auditor General Doug Ringler is scheduled to be the first person to testify.

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3:30 a.m.

The state-appointed emergency manager who oversaw Flint, Michigan when its water source was switched to the Flint River says he was "grossly misled" by state and federal experts who never told him that lead was leaching into the city's water supply.

Darnell Earley says in prepared testimony for a House hearing Tuesday that he was overwhelmed by challenges facing the impoverished city and relied on experts from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to advise him.

Earley says he and other Flint leaders "were all totally dependent" on the expert analysis. He says it would have been "unreasonable" to reject that guidance and make an independent judgment on a highly technical, scientific subject.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of Earley's testimony in advance.