tv Hearing on Flint Michigan Water Contamination CSPAN March 20, 2016 1:40pm-3:10pm EDT
to try with its players to prevent some of these concussive injuries that really can have long-lasting effects. i guess my sense would be -- better to air on the front-end for prevention of something while at the same time you are studying to really drill down for diagnosis, treatment, and development of protocols. >> thank you. i want to thank everyone for being here today. i feel like i should get continuing education credits for this. it's amazing to have this together and i'm sure that you are going to continue to work in collaborative ways. as you proceed. from a standpoint here we are calling it, the we focused a lot , weather people are watching this on c-span or other members are checking in, remember that most of the cases are from falls. that's the leading cause of
death in people 65 years or older. assaults are the leading cause totbi related children three four. being near a pediatric trauma unit makes a big difference. being near a stroke unit makes a big difference. having people around -- i did see the movie, "concussion." it's one of the strange movies where i knew just about everybody in it, being from pittsburgh. also knowing the people i know, how much things have changed in the last few years. being able to talk to dr. joe maroon to say that things were entirely different a few years ago. even things like moving where you kicked the ball on a kickoff has made a tremendous difference. i am also a member of the navy and i work on an inpatient unit at wall street hospital.
what really struck me about this whole thing was how little we knew about this and how we have got to learn more. playing a sport was a choice. we changed sunday to be football day in a church day. but the 1% who volunteer who where the unit -- to wear the uniform and take the oath, thank you for your service. it's pretty amazing. to watch how wars have wound down to see that patients are still there, air force or green beret, they are still out there, still coming in. ,eople who have been preachers near close air support for 2000 ton bombs, the concussive shockwave continues to go through them and for the longest time we would get back results that would say -- no problem, they must be faking it. they would have the very
symptoms that you describe. getting a fight at home that divorce is the nightmares, the in many cases,d suicide. we have gone a lot to learn here . you are helping us tremendously along these lines. we deal with many things in this community, some of which lead to life-saving efforts. so, this is helpful. we want you to stay in touch with us as we go forward, making sure to bring the brain initiative is fully funded. i'm hoping that we can learn a lot from this. spend half of a trillion dollars per year on mental health related problems and we are trying to find $1 billion or $2 billion per year to take care of it. to me that almost -- that almost when we could be saving a lot of lives. that's right think there's unanimity of opinion among members of congress. we have to find the will.
with yoursed knowledge. please stay in touch with all of us. with that, this particular form is closed. thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] >> our road to the white house coverage continues today when former president will clinton speaks at a campaign rally in tucson, arizona, for hillary clinton. also scheduled to appear, former representative again begin birds and her husband, astronaut mark kelly. oversight and government reform committee held hearings this past week on the contaminated drinking water inflict chicken. among those testifying were the administrator, the former mayor, and the city's former emergency manager. this portion of the hearing is 90 minutes.
>> the solemnly swear that this will be the truth and nothing but the truth? let the record declare that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. each of your writ -- written statements will be entered in in its entirety in order to allow time for discussion and questioning. we would appreciate it if you live your oral testimony. you are now recognized for five minutes. i want to thank you for the opportunity to testify about
epa's response to the drinking water crisis in flint, michigan. i first learned that flint was not implementing corrosion control. they were using river water that was not treated with phosphate. offer technical assistance to the mayor. on lead interesting water distribution systems. the following week we issued a telling themment to contact their utility and providing information about limiting exposure to lead tapwater. three weeks after i first heard about this problem, the michigan department of environmental quality agreed with the recommendation to implement
corrosion control soon as possible. recommendation my staff have .een making since last april that should have solved the problem. it did not. thatg the weeks and months followed, they were slow to deliver on the agreement. was hampered by a lack of capacity and resources. epa responded the olympic, by cooperating within the freight -- framework of the safe drinking water act. that framework assigns legal and gives epates standards andting technical assistance. keeping with that we provided technical support to the state in the city to implement
corrosion control and provide the assistance that flint residents needed to limit their exposure to lead. most of the time this cooperative federalism model works well. in fact it work exactly the way it is supposed to work when the toledo crisis occurred in 2014. as we all know, it did not work in flint. consequently, epa was forced to evaluate the rules under the safe water act, which are more limited than the enforcement provisions of other while iental statutes used the threat to move forward, we found that the options available to us were of limited utility -- limited utility last fall. in the end, with the help of the , corrosionask force
control was implemented. the protective coating that prevents lead from leaking into tapwater is now being restored. that's the good news. this problem should never have happened in the first place. i need your mind you, epa had nothing to do with that. finally, i would like to say a few words about my resignation. in part it was because of the false allegations that we published in early january, when epa was unable to correct the record before those allegations began to damage their ability to perform critical work in flint. i was widely per trade in the media as someone who "sat on the crisis" andring the "downplayed concerns from an epa
scientist about lead in the water." that is contained the untrue. my testimony today and find -- in thend appendices made it clear that i did not sit on the sidelines and did not downplay any concerns regarding scientists or apologize for any memos they wrote. asked for apeatedly final memo about flint and drinking water in flint in a form that epa could publicly release. when mde q attacked a region five scientist like calling him "a rogue employee, i immediately called the director to complain and, in a subsequent call with the director and governors staff , i made it clear that this scientist was a valued member of the region five water team. a point which i may even clearer when i subsequently appointed him to the flint task force. there wasn't time for these explanations in january in the
wake of all of the emergency declarations. residents have lost trust in government. the false allegations about me give them less reason to trust yet. on the day i resigned i sent a note the administrator saying -- in light of the allegations made about me and in the time it will take to set the record straight, i think that this is the best course of action to ensure the effectiveness of the response of the epa to the flint water crisis. to make sure that residents get the help that they deserve. that was one reason for my resignation. but there was another. quite simply, this tragedy happened on my watch. i did not make the catastrophic decision to provide drinking water without corrosion control treatment. i did not vote to cut funding for water infrastructure or four epa. design theot imperfect statutory framework that we rely on to keep our
water safe. but i was the regional administrator when this crisis occurred. entire adultmy life as an advocate for public health and much of that time representing citizen groups, i knew that only one thing mattered to flint residents. the water wasn't safe to drink. what happened in flint should not have happened anywhere in the united states. and i was horrified that it happened in my region. the great lakes region. i thought, and still think, that resigning was the honorable thing to do. although i have left government service, i have not stopped worrying about the people of flint. i'm very encouraged to see that the corrosion control treatment that was implemented in december
may cause the water to soon again be safe to drink. i was more encouraged to read about growing congressional support for funding to replace the lead servicing and the funding infrastructure across the country. i would like to close by asking all of you to support that legislation and, more generally, to support the long overdue investments needed in this nation's water infrastructure. thank you for this opportunity to testify. i welcome any questions. >> thank you. mr. earley, you are now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. tonk you for the opportunity appear at today's hearing. it gives you any opportunity to provide factual information
regarding the public water crisis in flint michigan. early. is darnell i have been to filling roles at the city, count chip, county, manager, and administrator as well as the state government appointee. i have also served as acting mayor of flint during the time i was city administrator. i hope that you would clean for my comment that i have a deep affinity for the people that reside in the city of flint. i recently served as one of four emergency managers appointed by governor rick snyder, between 2011 and 2015. my appointment was october of 2013 and i served until january of 2015. some of these committees have expressed concerns about the emergency manager laws and their negative affect on communities.
the law certainly does not provide for limitless disenfranchisement and total disregard of the community, its elected officials and certainly not its people. as a citytenure manager i have always, always involved the elected and appointed officials and the commencement of the day-to-day operations of the city. i did no different in flint. as the chairman just shared with you, i signed in order deli getting operational authority not only for the department of planning and development, but for the department of public works, which included the flint water treatment plant. to the mayor. the mayor served as part of our core team, part of our administrators that it had day to day responsibilities. i consulted with him, as well as other members of the core team about the day-to-day operations of the city of flint.
would have all now witnessed some difficult and inexcusable actions on the part of governmental agencies. inexplicable miscalculations about protocol. in the midst of this crisis, i must tell you that i believe i have been unjustly persecuted. prefer --nd feared personally and professionally in the media. as well as by a misinformed public. it's important to state that. part of my main reason for being here today is to set the record -- that his design to remake a community and regain financial profitability. four points. dw fecision to switch from
d to k w a was a local decision. you,e chairman shared with the city council voted for that move. this was not a single immediate kind of decision made in a vacuum. the have been discussions of from 2001 to 2004. this is not new discussion. the second point i want to make is that i made no decision about the use of the flint river. that was all part of the discussion in moving from dw sd and notice that they and theed the contract
flint river has served as a was and it does not mean that it was my decision. i had the responsibility of having it happen on my watch .ecause my contract terminated we did everything they could to move the city forward to a new water system. that brings me to my third point. complaintse, when were raised regarding the water
affinity for the people living and residing there. i have relatives there now. i have family members. i have worshiped in the churches alongside the parishioners. >> since i believe and i sincerely regret what has on behalf of those thison't have the capacity how can he make this bad and not oner the
big goldstar do i not pray for strong toution to the adjust the age and crumbled condition of the water systems that exist through flint fantasy county and throughout urban, core america. until we do this many other cities are just one experts from an outcome similar to the flint water crisis. thank you, mr. chairman, members of the committee.
now recognizell the mayor for five minutes. you are recognized. mayor: thank you for the opportunity to present testimony and to be invited his hearing. the drinking water crisis flint is a contest survey. devastating effect in our families, vulnerable children, and seniors. the entire community. flint is a strong city and it is going to survive. with at the right support it will thrive. but he never should've been in this situation. as a father raising my own family there, i'm deeply concerned for the children and everyone who's been affected. i'm sorry this crisis happened every single day. angry that moore was not done to respond to the water problems.
especially by the state, which controlled both the mdq and the city. i appreciate the city's efforts to identify what went wrong so that problems can be fixed. so that we can move forward. and that this never happens again in america. from my experience as mayor until november of 2015, i have three main points. the financial manager system focus too much on cutting costs without adequate safeguards and transparency. regulators provided false assurances to us about the safety of the water and with .ealth risks third, governor snyder unfortunately miscounted local concerns and not act with urgency.
the reactions taken by myself and the city council in march of 2013 to support the long-term pipelinenew lake huron did not include using the river as an interim source. directors jack shown -- projections showed payments for water being made until the new pipeline became operational. that theeality was state and financial managers have full control over the and personnel for four years. even as i and the city council
were granted some responsibilities, appointed managers continue to parcel out information and make the personnel purchasing decisions and legal consultation with the state. i didn't sign one city contract for purchasing resolutions during the time that the emergency managers were in place. stateay one the regulatory agency and department of environmental quality provided assurances to us that the water was safe and met the standards of the safe cooking water act. when i reached out for guidance i received information and assistance but the full risks were not shared. i have my own concerns about the river, was hearing concerns from the public, but i did rely on the information provided from the mdq and appointed publics works leadership. my family and i drink the water in our home.
i echoed these assurances to the public, which i wholly regret and will never do again. we now know that we were getting that information and worst water we found out, because local doctors analyze the data themselves, despite continued resistance in october of 2013. i pushed for the return to detroit water and the county eclair of public health emergency. tragically opportunities were missed and dismissed that could have averted the crisis. i called for program reforms to make the water safe of all test results publicly released. the city was releasing operational reports. the lead tests were not being
shared or disclosed. i contacted the governor directly with my plan, as i believe any mayor and a crisis should do regardless of the emergency managers. now the costs are hundreds of millions with an unknown number children's -- children and families affected. complaints were discounted. apparently since we were viewed as adversaries of the financial manager system, these were michigane claims from citizens with toxic water. as someone who continues to live and work in flint, i hope that more will be done to aid the city and help it to heal. flint citizens have fought so hard. our families have endured so much.
we simply deserve the same safety and opportunities for our families and children in flint as anywhere else in america. you for the opportunity and i look forward to your questions. senator: mr. edwards, you are recognized for five minutes. : i cannot help but comment, after hearing the testimony this morning, on the qualities that seem to be valued in administrators at the epa. willful blindness, in this case to the pain and suffering of flint residents -- on remorseful for their role in causing this man-made disaster. andcompletely unrepentant unable to learn from their mistakes. he said that epa had nothing to do with creating flint. epa had everything to do with creating flint.
malfeasance of the u.s. epa from 2001 to the present has harmed cities all over the united states. incredibly, even as national guard the streets distributing bottled water and installing filters all caps, michigan and are able to say that they've never failed to let their copper role because they have effectively endorse it since 2006. this is because epa and other agencies had a similar racist in 2001 2004 that was 20 times to 30 times worse in terms of the health harm to children in washington, d.c. they completely cover that up for six years and wrote falsified scientific reports
that created a climate in which anything goes across the united states. anything all -- anything at all to cover up health harm from lead in drinking water. since 2006, when we realized that this cheating was occurring -- i worked with a small group of people who try to expose these practices to the epa. and we failed. to taked to get epa lead and water risks seriously. because we failed i was not surprised when flint occurred. i was expecting a flint to occur. if a landlord were to engage in similar practices due to their negligence to allow even a single child to be exposed to lead paint risk, the epa would argue for prosecution and
incarceration. entire has allowed cities to be unnecessarily exposed. they have covered up evidence of their unethical actions by offering these falsified reports. forthey never apologize what they did and, incredibly to this day they have never apologize for what they did in flint, michigan. no apologies from epa. completely unrepentant and unable to learn from their mistakes. i guess being a government agency means you never have to say your sorry. yesterday i have to say i was dumbfounded to read an op-ed by gina mccarty that effectively absolved them of any wrongdoing or any role in creating the flint disaster.
besides from creating this climate in which a flint was allowed to occur, i purposefully observed in witness and uncovered wrongdoing by miss .usan hedman at the u.s. epa at every step she aided, abetted, and emboldened the unethical behavior of civil servants at the michigan department of environmental quality. she allowed the children of flint to be harmed. why should she not suffer the same or worse fate that a common landlord who does the same thing? is incredible, the harm to the children never would have been exposed. to quote the closing op-ed statement from ms. mccarty --
it's tragic that it took a disaster of this sort to give this issue the attention it deserves. let's do something about it. you could start by technology and the failures of the epa over the last decade to enforce the provisions of the lead and copper role. this is a critical and necessary first step to make epa once again worthy and deserving of the public trust in its noble mission. thank you. senator: thank you, we appreciate it. mr. wahlberg? senator: after having this hearing and another hearing, i onw that we are intent getting answers and ultimately addressing the concerns of people. children. faces in the room that we had lastrivilege to see this
saturday in flint, standing alongside our colleague. we want answers, action, and solutions. hedman,testimony, ms. you say that the bad news is that this problem should never have happened. looking at the faces of the people there on saturday, they concur with you as i would can for with you. you went on to say, add the -- , with shockmccarthy and all that she would make a statement that she did in "the washington post." you may them today saying -- i need to remind you that epa had nothing to do ." to be clear, you think that they had nothing to do with the crisis in flint? ms. hedman: no. sen. walberg: ok, i have here in
1431.of me section it's the law. 1430 one of a safe drinking water act pulled from their website this morning, which describes the emergency power authority given in the event of an imminent -- let me state that again -- imminent and substantial endangerment to public health. that the people of flint have at any time faced an imminent or substantial endangerment to their health? ms. hedman: yes. was thiserg: then endangerment not evident when the epa lurd and of the high lead levels in june of 2015? section 1431 requires that there both the substantial endangerment and that the state or city fails to take action.
well, did they fit -- sen. walberg: well, did they fail to take action? i think the answer is yes, don't you? the legal advice that i got was that once they had issued the order to implement corrosion control and the mayor stepped forward to indicate he would do so as soon as possible that it was likely that the state of michigan would argue that there was a jurisdictional bar. sen. walberg: argument is one thing. dealing with the job that you have is another thing. the issue was that we have seen so far that the action was not taken. dr. edwards and others, community members and others we have all heard from, it wasn't happening. why didn't the epa intervene and take control of the situation as soon as it learned of a flint water crisis. this is a crisis of human health
. dr. edwards, do you think that the response was adequate? dr. edwards: complete the criminal. sen. walberg: houston should she action as a human being and under the law? dr. edwards: i don't know about the law, but as a human being immediately. senator: why did it take another five months after the report of high levels of lead in the flint water supply for the final report to come out. ms. hedman: i never told the mayor to his regard that memo. if you look at appendix three to my testimony, you will see what actually occurred during the conversation that occurred -- that occurred with the mayor. greatdman: there is dispute on that coming across the board. sen. walberg: i wrote the e-mail. -- ms. hedman: i wrote the
e-mail, i know what i said. i think we can clear that up if we take time to talk about that. thatwalberg: i'm not sure we could. mr. del toro has a different recollection, as well as responses to him. i had the opportunity to talk with him this saturday as well. very different from what we are being told here. that's the concern. again, the human decency act. when the issue was brought to field,authorities in the with actual testing, the epa did not do what it needed to do, even if the other entities going down to the local level and state level were doing their duty. and we will certainly ask him about those issues and i look forward to the responses as well. mr. chairman, i see it's time to yield back. hopefully i can gain more down the road. senator: we now recognize the gentlewoman from new york, ms.
maloney, for five minutes. the flintloney: drinking water crisis is a national scandal. accountabilityr from those who are responsible. that is what we are trying to accomplish today. with mayore to begin wally. .- mayor walling ey's statement to this committee, he made several statements involving yourself and the city council and the decision to switch to the flint water.
first, mr. early alleges "the concept of using this -- the flint river as an interim water source was inherent in the water authority vote in the march 2013 mayor, at any time did ever vote oncil using the flint river as an interim source of water? mr. walling: no. but he never says that the city council voted on this issue. he clearly implies that somehow they're going -- their vote to join the k w air -- kate of you water authority means that the approved the use of the flint river as an interim source.
in your prepared statement before the committee today, "the toision in june of 2013 switch to the flint river was contrary to the water plans and financial forecasts provided to me in the flint city council in i am going to" put on the screen the document entitled original projection summary comparison. the water authority to the detroit water authority. never does this mention the taking of water from the flint river. is that correct? that's correct.
right. i would think that that's a seamless movement and that the flint river was never and that the k wa and detroit water would be what was there. is that your interpretation of it? mr. walling: that's what was provided in the documents, the comments that i and others made. he also alleges that he delegated all day operational responsibilities of the department of planning and development and department of public works to mayor walling as of june of 2014, notably after, after the switchover. mr.r, it appears to me that y is attempting to reflect blame. what is your response to that?
i was surprised when the statement was first made. first of all, at the time he was serving as city manager in the city of saginaw. he was not serving in the city of flint. i was and i know what happened and what the process was. the first frequently asked questions that the city of flint provided in early february of 2015 when so many of the issues came out about the crisis was and the finance director the public works director provided that recommendation in june of 2013. reality, to cut to the chase, who actually made a major decisions related to the water issues and flint? who made those decisions? they were put in
place by mr. kurtz and adopted a two-year budget for purchasing and personnel for the department of public works. that's what he later inherited. my time is up, but would mr. farley have had the have, would mr. earley had the power to keep clean detroit water flowing if you wanted to? mr. walling: yes, emergency managers often amended the budget they were working with. sen. maloney: they have that power, not the city council. mr. walling: correct. senator: i now recognize the michigan.om senator: thank you especially to professor edwards, who has been an extremely valuable expert in this area. i share your concerns about the epa's role in this.
many important points were made in that regard. early, you wrote a column in october 2015 for "the detroit ?ews" i would like to enter this into the record. senator: so ordered. sen. amash: you have made it clear here today that the decision to switch over to the flint river was made by the previous emergency manager on the city council, correct? dr. edwards: that -- mr. earley: that is correct. sen. amash: in your op-ed it said it felt to -- it felt to you. mr. earley: that is correct. sen. amash: it also says -- it question,ll to me to second-guess, or invalidate the actions in my appointment. do you really believe that?
mr. earley: i believe that there was no effort made to change what had been implemented. i'm sorry, you believe that it doesn't fall on you to question, second-guess, or validate any actions taken prior to your appointment? what i mean is that it does not fall to me to arbitrarily change that. isn't the job of the city manager to question things? isn't that why you are brought in? as a congressman if i took the position that it's not my job to second-guess or invalidate any actions that happened prior to my being here, what i be doing my job? mr. earley: if everyone was telling you that it was on course and going well, there would be nothing to second-guess. sen. amash: i'm just supposed to say -- well, everything's ok?
i don't have a -- any work here? that youy: i'm saying would have to obviously do your own due diligence, but if there's nothing to change, there's nothing to change. if people are telling you that the project was on course -- keep in mind that that was just one of many projects in a distressed community. sen. amash: you also say that there was no way to predict such an unfortunate outcome. as a person appointed in this position for an elected official like me, are we are -- are we not supposed to concern ourselves with unintended consequences? mr. are not soliciting about this things? in hindsighto, there is probably a lot more that everyone would have done, a lot more questioning everyone would have done.
when you have an 18 month window to turn around a distressed -- this object is to get the work done and enlist as many people as you can. mr. walling: -- sen. amash: isn't it your job? mr. earley: we always think of hypotheticals, absolutely. sen. amash: do you feel you did that in this case? i think we acted responsibly knowing the information we had at the time, yes, sir. sen. amash: in the place of the stead of the governing body in the chief administrative office of the governing budget, they shall have broad powers to ensure local government capacity to provide or cause to be of provided if necessary governmental services essential for health and welfare." in your view, what is the role of the emergency manager in overseeing
the daily duties of city employees? mr. earley: as a city manager i have always involved elected do.cials in the work that i i get no different as the emergency manager in involving them. because they are the experts. they handled the day to day operations. they were very much involved. forho is responsible ensuring state laws? the urgency manager is responsible for that, and i have always accepted that. >> and unity possibility of? that and you take responsibility for that? because in your headline you say do not blame bem for the water disaster. >> we were all responsible by virtue of our roles. >> what role did you have, and what steps did you take to ensure the flint water treatment plant was meeting safe
water standards? >> we had written meetings on progress to upgrade the plant. we were switching over to the flint water. i have regular meetings with the treatment staff, the mayor was part of regular meetings. we had discussions about the progress and things that were being encountered in this switch. once we made the switch and got went to the deq. we had boiled water advisers, we had meeting on a couple of occasions to talk about what was going on, and what was being treated. wereof the current issues brought to our attention. we did everything we could to make sure we were being responsible to the complaint and the concerns about the quality of the water.
>> i think responsibility pays attention to unintended consequences and seeing what could happen. >> we now recognize gentlewoman from the district of columbia. mr. edwards talked about willful blindness, i want to warn everybody about the willful blindness that is built into the separation of power system. that is why finger-pointing of the federal and state side, under on this committee or among our witnesses is quite inappropriate. to its credit, this minute a law thatebruary requires the epa to notify residents of high levels of lead when water samples show lead levels at the highest of 10% of homes, tested and above 15 parts per million.
why do we need a law, because there is unusual deference on the heart of federal officials. is a law to say when people's lives are in danger, when their health is in danger, there is an obligation to speak up when the state is not doing its part. mr. dell tomorrow to speak up to his supervisors, but he next being a whistleblower. we know what happens to whistleblowers and our system. my questions are not aimed at finger-pointing. it is clear that once you have the slightest evidence of lead in the water, and where you are in the system from you better speak up, because this irreversible rate you cannot turn this one around. so i have a question, recognizing the federal responsibility as well as the state responsibility.
let's speak to your responsibility. people are not crazy. they began to smell odors in the water, they saw the colors of the flint water change, and that started a month after the water plant begin processing during sir, the water. they began to be god. they complained about skin rashes and hair loss. those complaints, it is our information, continued for eight while you were emergency manager of flint. did you ever consider, given those complaints, switching back publicoit water once the started to second and to speak out? >> let me make again, very clear
that the fact of the complaints, we responded to those. we send our water staff out and collected samples. we were also working very closely with the michigan department of parmesan quality on these issues. while the water did have some discoloration we were told a number of reasons for that, not have which raised the fact that the water was not hit for human consumption. we rely on the information we received from the environmental quality department. >> you have extraordinary powers as an emergency manager. concern, orr a enough of a concern for you to government for state funds to reconnect to the detroit water system during your time, during your watch? >> we were trying to manage the issue. smell of the water
and the constant complaints were not enough of a warning to you to try to do something beyond ?ely on the experts the experts seem to have been in the public, drinking the water. relied on the michigan department of environmental quality and it got the information from them. sue mccormick of detroit water wrote to you offering to continue supplying water to the waterhigan until authorities project was complete. but you wrote back, there will be no need for flint to continue purchasing water to serve its afternts and businesses april 17, 2014. why did you reject this offer to
continue using detroit water as a source? >> just to be clear, the letters you refer to went to the city clerk at the time. >> you had no knowledge of this letter? was not city manager at the time the letter came in. by the time i got there we were notified the contract had been terminated. >> but you were city manager before this was implemented. it was on your watch. wasn't this your job, to look at what should be done now, now that you're in charge? ande did look at that, again, we followed the guidelines based on the information we were given. but unfortunately, in that letter -- >> what about the warning that ame -- imagine a warning in
line of people that said i have plans to distribute the people of the me as soon as possible, and i really didn't to go before, but looking at the schedule and current staffing i do not anticipate giving the ok to begin sending this water out anytime. if any water is distributed from this place in the next will weeks is will begin against my direction. what more did you need? >> that he not go to me. that did not go to me. that e-mail went to the director of the department. it did not go to me. >> your name is on the letter. >> you're talking to different things. >> what is the other thing? sd and theer from dw e-mail that came from one of the operators that talks about the distribution of water -- >> the gentlewoman's time has far expired.
i recognize the gentleman from lorna. -- from florida. >> i think this hearing is going to be known as the great finger-pointing hearing. the flint mayor thread people under the bus. we have the flint emergency manager throwing people under the bus, we have ms. hedman, the former epa administrator for that area throwing people under the bus. somewhere, it seems like people were asleep at the time, and not doing their job. if the locals failed, and the mayor failed, and emergency managers fail, and there were failures there, mr. edwards, what role of the federal government have? >> there is a resort.
they are the last line of defense. >> and the reason we put epa together was to protect people in cities and communities and totes where they did not act protect the water of the people. were they notified? there were some heroes in this. they notified the local people and the federal people and everyone they could that they were poisoning their kids. he wrote an incredible memo. wasn't he and epa official? .e did a great job a highschooler could read his memo. it tells you the violations of the city. it tells you the incompetence.
and it tells you the poisoning of their children. out, listed on the back. a highschooler could read this and evaluate it. you got that memo, right, mrs. hedman? >> i'm not sure when i got it. >> but you got it. did you talk to her about this memo? >> yes. >> but i would back to check if you talked to your constituents. 2015, athis early in the end of 2014. we had the test that proved this. he tested the pipes, he did everything. first they said it was the pipes into the house. they were plastic. there was no lead in there.
on told her at the library march 31 you were aware of it. you want to miss walters and told her you were aware of the situation and you would take care of it. then you told us to your constituents. she showed up on april 22 in your office, and they said you were gone for easter but will be back with her on monday. that is what they told her. that is what she told me. march 15, 2016. you have not been back with persons. her since. but you were aware of this middle ground. you read this memo, they try to suppress this memo. it said your constituents were being poisoned. incredible failure
at all levels, particularly the federal level. that is our responsibility. when we get a memo like this from someone with the epa doing their job, and a constituent who reports it, we have evidence of poisoning, mr. delta airlines a hero. and the things he did, every test possible. did you read this? >> his memo has been proven to .e 100% accurate local yet ignored at the level emergency management level. you were enacted for five months after this memo? >> that is incorrect. the following day i offered led
experts to the mayor, and within three weeks we had concluded an agreement with an deq to order flints to issue corrosion control. ? >> and what did they do? did they do it? >> they did, eventually. >> when? >> the issued an order on august 17, ordering the city of flint to do corrosion control. >> and you never went back on the. there was no plan in place for more than five months. >> that is not true. >> that is the whole truth. again, i think epa also failed. we have failure at multiple levels. have seens, you cases. he said this is not uncommon of how they felt across the country. is that not the case in flint? climate out there were led and water problems are
covered out, that people are cheating on the same play, and that allowed flight to occur. it allowed these unethical civil servants to claim there was no problem in the water whatsoever. >> thank you. >> mr. clay is recognized. there were numerous red flags that should have led the state to agree to return to the detroit water system. contamination as early as summer of 2014, the astronomical led readings. all of these early signs should have been reason enough to consider returning to a safe water supply. but the response was always the same. it was not in the emergency managers financial plan for the city to return to the detroit water system.
on january 9, 2015, in response to concerns that have been raised about the safety of , mr. earley, you wrote, and i quote, suggestions have been made that the city of flint should return to using water $18 million to purchase water that meets the same the eq standards as the water now available from flint river. we know that the water from the flint river was not meeting the same standards as water coming from detroit. is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> then, did you consider
changing course of any point after serious concerns have been raised about the quality and safe of the underwater? that you reference, we had already enlisted the aid of another water expert to determine exactly what the causes were. we were trying to diagnose the cause is. we were dealing with the issue wee. coli and other issues were not talking about that at the time. the cityint simply is of flint did not have the money. >> common sense should take over. the general motors plant stopped using the water when it started to rest new parts. what would that tell the average person? that they need to stop drinking it.
difficult to determine? to rely on the michigan department of environmental quality. until such time as they deemed the water and safe to drink, we were doing all that we could to manage the contamination and to also make the water accessible and potable. letter,ry 15, 25th teen just a few days later, the director of the detroit water system sends you a letter offering to reconnect the city of flint to the detroit water supply. why did you reject the directors offer? >> i do not do that. i was gone from flint. i had left flint by that time the letter came out. the rejection was written by my successor. there were four emergency managers during that time. that letter of rejection came from my successor.
you orso it came down to your successor trying to say $18 million? that came down to the fact the city did not have $18 million. they were paying the highest water rates in the country. we have litigation pending now from customers who are fighting the rates for the water. >> going along with your line of , we do we say public health and safety matters, and it is the responsibility of the state of michigan or the epa to step in and say we are endangering lives, we are damaging people for the rest of their lives. when does that occur? >> from day one. >> but you do not do it. of leadssues
contamination came out in 2015. they came out after that. the issues we were dealing with internal contaminated water were e. coli, and chloroform materials that were found in the water. of thes a result distribution system age, it was a result of the number of water main breaks that we had at that particular time. this was the perfect storm for things to happen while we were switching from water that one water source to another, but we try to manage those. sense tell't common you what general motors did, when they changed the water system that they were using as it was resting the parts, what does that say to you? >> what we were told regarding that situation was because of the raw nature of the machine arts that general motors was producing, the treatment materials, we were putting in to treat the water was having a
negative impact on their product. but it did not correlate to a negative impact on consumption of the water. >> for the record i have a letter in response from darnell early, rejecting detroit waters offer. make this part of the record. >> before the judge will yield back mr. edwards you get an opportunity to respond to this inquiry as well. >> ia will recognize myself for five minutes and when did you first know there was a problem with the water in flint? december of 2014. i was briefed on the issues, the disinfection byproduct issue. my staff have in front instructions when there is a significant violation in a system to bring it to my attention, and me --
>> when did you have your first conversation with mayor wally? >> my first conversation about the disinfection byproducts occurred in late february. purging water expert in that area, and i supplied him with an expert on the epa in cincinnati. on 12 vision in july 2015 and told everybody that it was safe to drink the water. on your own, or who told you that that was a viable thing to say? >> they had repeatedly provided assurances, and we heard over and over again in our technical advisory meetings, discussions with staff, that the water was meeting the standards, that it was safe to drink. >> did you have a discussion with epa? >> we spoke around that time, after the dell toronado was divided in flames.
it was explained to me that that memo was under review. that the scope of the problem was being assessed, and my understanding at the time was that this was limited to very particular cases because of what was there for that service life -- lead service lines and plumbing in that house is >s. >> what is your take on that? the memo,logized for and he asked her if there should be any concern of anything to put residents, and she said no. >> why did you say that? apologize for taking all day to get back to the mayor. that is because i was out of the office for a medical procedure. in fact, during the entire time. -- the dr. imagined
i was covering up data, i was out of the office. i did not return until july 13. , whog that time my deputy dr. edwards describes as one of the good guys was actually in charge of the office. >> so mr. edwards, this memo from mr. delta apparel is pretty comprehensive, is it not? it informs you as to the health of this water. >> it points out that it is not being addicted by federal law and that health is endangered. >> when sure that information have been released? silentepa just stayed and not apologized for the memo to mr. walling and told mr. walling that mr. dell tomorrow was accurate in what he said, i doubt he would have gone on tv to drink the water and tell residents it was safe. >> were you talked out of it?
you're getting inquiries from news organizations, and other saying what are you doing about this, and you go on television and say it is safe. >> i do trust the guidance that i was receiving. that is what will i regret in this, looking back. but i deliberately reached out. for ad the white house point of contact in the epa. it was still under emergency manager, because i wanted to double check on what we were hearing from the state regulators. when we are hearing essentially the same thing from the state and the federal regulators, then i rely on that information, and that is what i got. >> what did the white house ask you to do? they ask you communicate? >> i asked for a point of contact. >> and they directed you to? >> dr. susan hedman. >> how long till they confirmed
that the adult world report is accurate? they did it, today, they never did. you were there for months and months, and they never did come back and actually confirm it, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> you were there, being paid by taxpayers until late january of 2016. why did it take you so long? actually dealt with lead in one residence, and to neighboring residences. the conclusion of the final that thef his memo was problem has been caused by physical disturbance of a lead service line, and that it was particular to that household. >> this is not a report about one house, was it? >> he clearly pointed out that
flint was not being protected by federal and that the public health of an entire city was in danger. this is where you are fundamentally and totally wrong if you do not recognize that now, we are in mid-march of 20 team, and you still do not get it. you still don't get it, and neither does the epa administrator. you messed up, and he messed up people's lives. >> mr. chairman -- please. >> he was just one of several people who were concerned about the failure to implement corrosion control and have been communicating to an deq at higher and higher levels of epa management. information was out
there publicly, and have been released. did somebody release that report? >> i do not believe he released the report. i think we need to be clear that -- >> was right for that to go public? >> there were three reasons why they could not release that report. create --is that it contain personally identifiable health information and that kind of information is not something that we could release. and so before a report is released, that is redacted by our office. >> so a black pen. secondly, the material in the report included enforcement sensitive information, and we do not release that to the target or to the general public. again, that would have a definite been a redaction issue. additionally, there was data in the report that we neither
collected nor analyzed, and it needed to go through standard qa qc. i directed that the done as soon as possible. it was my expectation that the report could be finalized and put in a form that could be publicly released before the reporter had to file his story. that was my expectation of the time. >> and it took seven months. mr. edwards? >> i am in disbelief. row recognize the gentleman from virginia. government foral 14 years in virginia. my point of contact on the environment almost always with department of environmental quality. i thought you gave a very eloquent, passionate and suitably outraged opening statement, that you focus on epa
almost exclusively in that statement. when we actually get to how government works, and what the mechanics of it are, the local government relates first to the deq, and the environmental protection agency does not run water authorities around the country. it relies on the state deq. about heard a lot of talk let's not finger point, but we do need to get to the bottom of this and how it works. i do not think this is epa's finest moment, but i for one, coming from local government for not going to let the local deq off the hook, because it sounds better for one political philosophy to try to shift this entire blame onto the federal government. there is plenty of blame to go around. avoiddo not want to getting to the bottom of what happened, and to let it happen.
say, you said it was your successor who declined the offer of detroit water. but my colleague mr. clay entered into the record a letter dated march 7 of 2014, addressed to sue mccormick, signed by you. we you say in that letter expect the flint water treatment plant will be fully operational and capable of treating flint water. prior to the termination. there will be no need to continue purchasing water after april 17. sue mccormick took that letter to be a rejection letter of the offer. did you intend it to be a rejection letter? >> there were two very distinct letters to the detroit water and
sewer department. one was drafted before the issues of land were discussed for that's the letter you are making reference to. there was another drafted by the successor, mr. ambrose, that also said the same thing. my letter was in response to the effect that the project was already underway, that the city had invested millions of dollars into the new water system, and they wanted a long-term water agreement which was not feasible. aware of concerns about the quality of water coming from the flint river? >> in march? 15.march 7, 2000 >> that was before the switch happened. is what was planned before i got there. >> i understand that. theou have concerns about
-- were you aware of the concerns about the flatwater? >> no. >> did you have any reason to believe there could be water quality concerns taken from the flint river? did not, because the water, the statement you permit for all things were necessary to move forward with the project. >> ok. your testimony today, other things you bring up are pretty harsh about the michigan department of the governmental quality. you say it missed its opportunity to identify serious corrosion problems, you say it has multiple warnings from the epa, is that correct? is it your testimony that they ignored warnings from the epa? >> i cannot speak to why they reacted the way they did. >> i did not ask that question.
hadyou saying that they multiple warnings from the epa? and the clear implication is that they ignore them. is that your testimony? >> no. ms. hedman, that statement that there were multiple product warnings from the epa, what is he referring to from your point of view? >> what is the letter, again please? >> he says that the of deq received multiple emphatic warnings from epa. >> i thought you were referring to the letter. >> i referred to his testimony. they february of 2015 inquired about the corrosion control that is being implemented in flint. my staff was told that pledge was fully optimized version control. it was not until april 24 that
an deq admitted to my staff for the first time that flint was not practicing corrosion control. at that time, from that day forward, at higher and higher repeatedly,a, we emphatically and urgently told an deq that it was imported to implement corrosion control as soon as possible. >> too far for the hearing, and thank you for thursday's planned hearing. respect for politics or anything else, this is a catastrophic failure with our citizens, and a government exists for any purpose, it is to protect our safety, and health and and this is a catastrophic failure. >> the gentleman yield back. i recognize the dublin from ohio. the diamondo
from michigan. >> let's go in the different track. i like to come back to ms. hedman again. but at first, epa finally actively intervened in flint and eight lane just henry 2016. edwards, whatr. steps have been taken to make the water lead free? >i saw you there saturday, talking to residents of the filters and all the rest. what steps have been taking? >> they have switched back to detroit water. they have implemented very good corrosion control effective in december. we believe the lead levels are dropping dramatic way, the pipe coating is reestablished. we are currently sampling with flint residents. muchg house by house, how lower lead levels are now.
our hypothesis is that is four times better now than it was during the height of the lead poisoning incidents in flint's neighborhoods. >> how long do you think it will take for flint water to be safe? existinger to meet federal standards, which is not a high bar, as i have already said you have to do a federally approved sampling event that they have never done, and that is history because they have never sampled the right homes, and they have been using sampling protocols that ms. led and water risk. >> you have records of those homes? >> we do. but they did not have leadpipe. philadelphia, they did not simple enough homes with leadpipe, according to the requirements of the law. this is something that epa has been allowing since 2006.
>> do you believe it is necessary and reasonable for fled -- flint to replace all of the leadpipe's? >> obviously, that is desirable. everyone wants that to happen. no one wants it more than me. but we have to consider seriously what is the best ways to invent influence future to help flint get back on their feet. they have needs in terms of the water mains. they have more water main breaks per mile than almost any other city in the united states. that is one reason their water bills are so high. there many infrastructure needs that have to be addressed in that is why i am in favor of to get money to flint residents for their infrastructure. >> we heard on saturday 40% water be wasted due to breaks in the lines, leaking out. you're talking about people having to pay those water bills when they are not even getting
the water, let alone being safe to drink. let me go back to ms. hedman. in your testimony you stated that i reside in part because the file's allegations about me that were published in early january. he specifically cites a january 12 detroit news article, titled epa stayed silent on flint tainted water. mark edwards is extensively quoted as saying that people who knew about the lack of corrosion controls should have acted immediately. let me ask you, is it a false allegation to say that people who knew about the contaminated water should have acted? >> and we did. we did. this,n as i learned about i offered the mayor and we reached out again, and within three weeks had reached
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