The Latest: Rough treatment of Gov. Snyder draws sympathy

AP News
|
Posted: May 04, 2016 6:47 PM
The Latest: Rough treatment of Gov. Snyder draws sympathy

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on developments in Flint, Michigan, where drinking water is tainted with lead (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

There's some sympathy for Gov. Rick Snyder after he was booed and heckled during brief remarks at a Flint high school.

Lamar Boyd says it took "guts" for Snyder to appear before more than 1,000 people and apologize for the lead-contaminated water. The 54-year-old Flint resident who's using bottled water says the negative reaction was "very over the top."

Snyder's appearance Wednesday surprised the crowd, which was awaiting a speech by President Barack Obama. The Republican governor spoke for just a few minutes. When he said "government failed," some people shouted, "You failed!"

Snyder's environmental agency didn't require corrosion controls in Flint's water. As a result, lead leached from old plumbing and fixtures.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Flint Democrat, says residents might feel differently if Snyder did more to replace pipes.

___

3:30 p.m.

Speaking over waves of boos, Gov. Rick Snyder has apologized for Flint's contaminated water crisis.

Snyder's appearance at a Flint high school Wednesday surprised more than 1,000 people who were waiting to hear from President Barack Obama. Snyder has apologized repeatedly for his administration's failure to treat water that caused lead to leach from old plumbing. But he's never talked to such a large crowd in Flint since the scandal broke last fall.

Snyder told people he understands why they're "angry and frustrated." He said, "I'm sorry. ... Government failed you."

At the end of brief remarks, the governor got some applause mixed with more boos.

___

3:13 p.m.

A municipal official in Flint, Michigan, has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge in connection with the city's drinking water crisis.

The state attorney general's office says Flint utilities administrator Mike Glasgow entered the plea Wednesday to one count of neglect of duty.

Spokeswoman Andrea Bitely says under an agreement between Glasgow and the state, the plea's effective date will be delayed for one year. It will take effect if Glasgow cooperates with investigators.

Glasgow oversaw operations of the water plant when Flint switched its water source from the city of Detroit to the Flint River as a cost-saving measure in April 2014.

The river water wasn't treated to avoid corrosion, enabling it to become contaminated with lead from aging pipes.

___

This version of The Latest corrects the name of the spokeswoman.

___

2:40 p.m.

President Barack Obama has taken a drink of the filtered water in Flint, Michigan.

Obama is visiting the city for the first time since its drinking water became contaminated with lead.

After a briefing Wednesday on the federal government's response to the crisis, the president took a drink of filtered water.

Officials have been assuring still skeptical residents that filtered tap water is now safe to drink. Obama said he normally doesn't engage in stunts, but said he took a swig of the filtered water to show it's safe.

The Michigan Senate earlier Wednesday approved spending another $128 million to address the crisis, marking the fourth round of funding being considered by state lawmakers since the health disaster was confirmed seven months ago.

___

1:55 p.m.

Dozens of people are rallying across the street from a Flint high school where President Barack Obama is scheduled to talk about the city's lead-tainted water crisis.

The protesters are chanting "Flint lives matter" and "They think it's a game, they think it's a joke," referring to the disgust that many feel for state officials over the scandal.

Critics of Gov. Rick Snyder gathered signatures Wednesday for a recall election. A man in a hazardous-materials suit pounded a large barrel that was labeled toxic.

A block away, teacher Reneta Richard says she hopes Obama "leaves a check, right here, right now" for new pipes and other costs related to lead leaching from old plumbing and fixtures. Flint used the Flint River for 18 months but didn't treat the water to prevent corrosion.

___

12:45 p.m.

President Barack Obama is in Flint, Michigan, where he is bringing a promise of change after lead from old pipes tainted drinking water in the city.

Obama was greeted at the Flint airport Wednesday by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has been heavily criticized for his administration's handling of the crisis. Also meeting Obama at the airport was Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

Obama's first order of business will be to receive a briefing on the federal response to the crisis. He then will meet with city residents.

Obama declared a state of emergency in mid-January and ordered federal aid to supplement the state and local response. At that point, the crisis was in full bloom.

It took several months more for the nation to focus on the beaten-down city's plight, raising questions about how race and poverty influenced decisions that led to the tainted water supply and the beleaguered response once problems surfaced. More than 40 percent of Flint residents live in poverty and more than half are black.

___

12:30 p.m.

The Michigan Senate has approved spending another $128 million to address the water crisis in Flint, where residents have to use faucet filters or bottled water because of lead contamination.

The emergency aid legislation that passed 34-3 Wednesday next goes to the House for consideration. It's the fourth round of funding being considered by lawmakers since the health disaster was confirmed seven months ago.

Gov. Rick Snyder and legislators previously authorized $67 million for the emergency — mostly state money but also federal funds.

The latest bill includes $25 million to replace lead pipes that connect water mains to customers. Another $45 million would be put into an emergency reserve fund.

Later Wednesday, a Senate panel plans to finalize expanding health insurance to 15,000 children and pregnant women in Flint.