5 disturbing revelations from Gov. Snyder’s e-mails about Flint water crisis

 

Snyder email redacted

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

Embattled Gov. Rick Snyder released 274 pages of e-mails and other documents about the Flint water crisis Thursday that reveal a stubborn, often arrogant administration and state bureaucracy that failed to protect residents from being poisoned despite mounting evidence that the water was hazardous.

l. “I can’t figure out why the state is responsible.”

Gov. Rick Snyder
Gov. Rick Snyder

Snyder’s administration was often dismissive of its major role in the Flint water crisis, even though the state ultimately signed off on switching the city’s water supply to the Flint River and was responsible for addressing the health hazards that resulted.

On Sept. 26, two days after a second study revealed elevated lead levels in Flint’s water, Snyder’s chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, was unwilling to accept responsibility and was more irritated by Democrats and “the anti everything group.”

“I can’t figure out why the state is responsible except that (state Treasurer Andy) Dillon did make the ultimate decisions so we’re not able to avoid the subject,” wrote Muchmore, who retired at the end of the year.

Dennis Muchmore, former chief of staff of Gov. Snyder.
Dennis Muchmore, former chief of staff of Gov. Snyder

Muchmore complained that “some in Flint” were “trying to turn (the water crisis) into political football claiming the departments are underestimating the impacts of the populations and particularly trying to shift responsibility to the state.”

Flint was under state control at the time.

Muchmore continued: “It’s really the city’s water system that needs to deal with it.”

Snyder took an entirely different tone during the State of the State on Tuesday, saying he accepted responsibility and should have acted more swiftly.

“To you, the people of Flint, I say tonight as I have before, I am sorry and I will fix it,” Snyder said during his annual speech.

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  • mma007

    Hair fall is not abnormal it is the normal issue of today beside the stomach issues and headache. The major causes of the hair falling frequently are the uneven eating routine and the abnormal way of life. Hair fall is delivered by the horrible way of life and weight control plans.Dandruff and hair loss

  • mma007

    Hair fall is not abnormal it is the normal issue of today beside the stomach issues and headache. The major causes of the hair falling frequently are the uneven eating routine and the abnormal way of life. Hair fall is delivered by the horrible way of life and weight control plans.Dandruff and hair loss

  • erikgrad

    The lack of emails is telling – whether there are text messages, emails through Rick’s campaign email address that he is not including, may yet see the light (not by FOIA directly, but if an investigation turns up something on them or others).

  • Tiredoflieingreporters

    We need the minutes from every meeting Synder attended and any transcripts of phone conversations he had. That is where the decisions were made not via email. If anything is in the emails it would be someone trying to cover their butt by putting it on record. It’s no wonder he released them he knows no decisions were made by email.

  • Toolonggone

    Thanks for revealing Rick ‘the Fukushima’ Synder’s secret.

  • Toolonggone

    Thanks for revealing Rick ‘the Fukushima’ Synder’s secret.

  • Patrick Caraher

    Don’t kid yourselves re: lead… the average North American absorbs 10 to 100 times more lead, depending on where they live, than our pre-industrial ancestors. We are all being slowly poisoned, albeit much more slowly than the good residents of Flint. What makes it even worse in Flint is that people of recent African ancestry also absorb calcium (and lead) more readily than non-Africans, due to lead being a calcium imitator.
    While the buck stops with Snyder as Supreme Leader, the root of the issue goes back to the 60’s, when Flint/Genesee County first talked about getting off Detroit water (a 60’s effort to build the Lake Huron pipeline was derailed by a scandal). From what I’ve read of the current issue, Flint Council pushed (7-1) to switch to the river source in advance of the new pipeline completion, even after Detroit offered to sell them water at roughly half the existing rate at the time, at which point their water costs would have been around 20% less than from the completed pipeline. Improper oversight at the city (Flint), county (Genesee), and state level allowed this water to be improperly treated more because of sins of rather idiotic omission, rather than commission, I think, mainly because the demographic being served is generally very poor and disenfranchised… and who pays attention to the rights, needs and wants of poor people? If this water was going to Grosse Pointe, I can assure you that due diligence would have been executed. The same has been happening for years here in Canada with native communities (many of them poor and disenfranchised), some of which have been on boil water advisories for decades due to bacteria stemming from no, or improper water treatment.
    Given the fact that Detroit water was going to be cheaper than any other option, at the revised rate, two questions need be asked:
    1) Were all the people along the decision-making line inattentive idiots, from the City up to the State level, largely due to a lack of concern for a poor demographic?
    or more likely:
    2) Can you follow a money trail to see why people along the line were convinced to make such poor decisions?
    Probably some combination of the two.

  • Billy Blake

    Michigan is only one of two states that make the governor
    exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, so there’s no way to confirm
    he released all of the e-mails. Wow this really shows how messed up it is in this state

  • Kim Schroeder

    Excellent work! Thanks for the summary!

  • Wesley Elsberry

    I wonder if anyone else might be able to find more of the email. Servers tend to keep things even when people try to cover their tracks.

    • sensoria

      Not Hillary’s, oddly.

  • Druse

    Snyder as a lawyer should know that releasing his emails will only fuel his guilty status no matter his intentions or his lip service to accepting responsibility. The release will not vitiate his responsibility. How can anyone who has accepted responsibility for poisoning people and still hold office?

    • javierjuanmanuel

      Who was poisoned?

      There are lots of poisoned people in detroit, Saginaw, lansing, grand rapids, any area there was industry. There is lead, asbestos, mercury etc.

      Having a tiny bit of mercury in you is not “poisoned” if you did not know it, feel fine, have no ill effects, and a test shows minute trace amounts with in safe or common levels. Same with lead.

      So who is uniquely poisoned that tbey suffered injury or death?

      You are thinking of contaminated. They already had lead in them. Every last person in flint had lead inside them, now some might has a much as twice the previous level. Which lots of people have who never lived a day in flint!

      • muckraker_steve

        No, I am thinking of lead poisoning. Are you really trying to undermine the severity of children being poisoned with elevated levels of lead? This is a first.

        • javierjuanmanuel

          I have not seen anyone who was “poisoned”.

          I have not seen anyone suggest it was any more than say industrial workers, painters, welders, pipe fitters, people who live near incinerators, etc.

          I have not even seen anyone share what the areas levels were PRE EM.

          I heard on the radio two days ago a former employee of the water department share that the water plant is right near an industrial area, full of auto recyclers, old old ones, 50-70 years old. The intake is the low spot in the river, he said EVERYONE at the city, knew decades ago, the EPA said they needed to trench out all the dirt in the river 30ft down to get rid of the contaminants.

          No one every did anything, no one ever balked etc.

          So explain that. Shoe me these people are any worse off than a guy working at a brake shop for 30 years.

          • Trexinmichigan

            It really doesn’t matter what you think because clearly you know squat.
            Why the eff is the National Guard out in Flint? For some freaking dog and pony show.
            I would say to stay away from paint chips, but clearly the damage has already been done in your case.

          • Fillmatiks

            Step off, troll. Why do you people bother debating with someone without a soul, heart, and likely a paid operative of austerity fanatics.

          • Tsk

            Were you always a pig like this?

          • Cindi T

            Maybe if you ventured out from under that bridge, you’d learn something. You “heard on the radio”…Limblob’s show, no doubt.

      • Abby Harper

        Yes, except the elevated lead levels correlate with the 18 month period after their public water source was switched back to flint. Folks are already talking about the developmental damage that will be the effect of these elevated levels in children. This is not a one time “oops” with no long term consequences. And there’s evidence that it was not a “minute trace of lead” and lead is not something you immediately feel the effects of. Consequences of this will impact these children for the rest of their lives. Wake up.

        • javierjuanmanuel

          There were thousands of flint people getting testing randomly before this? Show me that.

          I do not doubt there are elevated levels. I never suggested there were not elevated levels, I already used that phrase many times.

          I argued that wide spread, race based, poisoning was uniquely the fault of just the governor. Thats it. I argued almost no one was poisoned. No one died.

          Tell you what, is it poisoning if I come to your house and mold makes me sick? How about I eat a paint chip, can I sue you and quit working, and you can pay for my care the rest of my life?

          You need some context. People live to their 80s working with nastier stuff than that water for decades.

          The streets are not filled with tens of thousands of people with skin lesions, dead, with rotten guts.

          • Abby Harper

            Hm, your comments show a disturbing lack of research and unwillingness to try and have an understanding of the issue at hand. Here are some responses to your questions:

            1) How will it affect them the rest of their lives? Well there are countless studies on the effects of lead poisoning on long term health outcomes, iq, and development of children. There are some on adults too, but the concern for children is one of the reasons it is now recommended to not have lead paint in the house, to be careful about planting vegetables in soil with heavy lead, and to generally avoid lead exposure. The impacts from lead poisoning are not immediate, rather they result in long term impacts that are detected years out. Google will take you far.

            Here is a summary of the impacts from WHO: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs379/en/

            Here is an article showing that impacts from lead poisoning worsen with age: http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/iq-effects-childhood-lead-exposure-persist-in-adults/

            Here is information from the US Library of Medicine, and I quote: “Lead is much more harmful to children than adults because it can affect children’s developing nerves and brains. The younger the child, the more harmful lead can be. Unborn children are the most vulnerable.” https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002473.htm

            Another study on Adult Neurological Consequences of Childhood Lead Exposure: http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/86/2/211.full

            2) Why would it be any worse than a parent who buys home with lead paint?

            There’s a lot of education around this to prevent it, and most parents are educated by doctors not to buy homes with lead paint. There are workshops that teach you how to delead, there is education around not eating plants grown in soil with high levels of lead. All of these are known issues and concerns and measures are put in place to try and diminish exposure to lead. Houses still have lead in them – that is an issue. Just because there is one exposure doesn’t mean it’s fine to have more. In fact, there are a lot of studies showing the accumulation of lead in the body from multiple sources is even more problematic. If houses still have lead in them, we should be doing all we can to diminish lead in other controllable aspects. You’re argument that because there is exposure in certain areas it’s fine to have it everywhere is pretty inane.

            3) “I argue no one was poisoned. No one died” As mentioned previously (and cited), lead poisoning may take years to show impacts. Death can occur later in life, as well as a whole other host of problems that diminish quality of life and life expectancy. Not everyone who is exposed to something has negative consequences (there are mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy who’s babies avoid fetal alcohol syndrome – you’re still not going to promote drinking alcohol during pregnancy. There are people who smoke for years and avoid lung disease, but it still carries a higher risk).

            4) “There were thousands of flint people getting testing randomly before this?”

            Actually, testing for lead levels in young children is a common preventative practice for many doctors. The Diane Rehm show on NPR interviews a pediatrician in Flint this past week that, after hearing about this, went back and reviewed records and saw a twofold increase in the 18 month period after town water was switched back to Flint. https://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2016-01-20/the-latest-on-the-flint-michigan-water-crisis

            I encourage you to educate yourself before continuing to spew misinformed opinions that could influence others. Consequences of exposure to toxins is not necessarily “tens of thousands of people with skin lesions, dead, with rotten guts.” That’s not how it works.

          • Nathan A

            Why should Javier do the research when it’s easier to cry that he doesn’t know all the details because no one sat him down and went over every piece of evidence specifically with him? Therefore, it must be fake.

            Seriously Javier, if you don’t know the facts and details surrounding what happened, how about actually spending a few hours trying to find that information to get informed before playing Devils’ advocate.

            Last I checked, Snyder’s administration wasn’t claiming that this situation is made up and that the river had nothing to do with it.

          • Abby Harper

            Agreed! The amount of evidence of blatant environmental racism on this is absurd. But at least this way he can’t keep claiming there’s no evidence:) Forces some creativity.

          • Abby Harper

            Agreed! The amount of evidence of blatant environmental racism on this is absurd. But at least this way he can’t keep claiming there’s no evidence:) Forces some creativity.

          • Fillmatiks

            Don’t even acknowledge this fool. Look up the “Gish Gallop” (or you may be familiar with it already), the stonewalling/disinformation technique that Romney tried to trip up Obama with in the 2012 debates.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            in general:
            I well aware of what leading poisoning is, I have been reading on just this story alone for many many months, no one mentions anyone technically poisoned. It was not till last week that I ever even saw any sort of numbers about anything in regards to flint, the best number said only some people saw elevated levels of 200 %. So twice what they had before. They already had lead in them. Doing it right, trying not to get lead poisoning, with good water, they managed to have only half the lead they do not drinking what is apparently toxic waste and certain death in a glass.

            2.Every home before 1978 has lead paint almost for sure. Tons have asbestos, its everywhere in caulk, on the ground outside,floor tiles, ceiling tiles, wrapping for pipes. No one at the government level was ever in trouble. I know older folks from the 1960s to early 80s who were handed a blob of mercury from a jar, passed it around in their hands in class in public schools. Open mercury, in liquid form in their hands! At public school! Have you every heard of the teacher, principals or anyone even getting shamed ? This stuff is a joke !

            Tons of homes have radon leaking in from the soil as well.

            Basically its not a huge deal if you do not eat tons of lead chips like a complete kid raised on his own in the nastiest falling apart crap shack. I know this. My point is its everywhere and people are fine with it.

            This is not uniquely horrible as its being portrayed. This is like people worked up about the crap in erin brokovitch movie, or the love cannal. Its not nearly as impactful, and it might turn out to be almost nothing.

            4. Of course death can occur later in life, if you live long enough almost everyone gets cancer or a heart attack if you life to 100. Thanks boy wonder.

            Did you not see my point about how many people work dirty industrial jobs for 40 years and live to be 80-90.

            Drinking some nasty water for a year is not certain death. Stop acting like it is certain death, and the gov did it on purpose.

            I asked you to show me random testing. Before and after you need a control group science boy. You saw a ten fold increase in testing after this was in the news, wow, science. That is not what I asked for. Show me random samples before, and now, then show the impact. How does anyone work an industrial job in nasty conditions survive, answer me that ?!

            The greatest evidence this is a bunch of nothing is lack of numbers, they want you to think everyone is going to die, and it is directly the governors fault and no one elses. Why have I not heard peoples names from the city ruined, they should be getting death threats! They should be losing jobs, losing pensions, their entire lives ruined!

            Why is no one else noticing that !

          • Kareem Of-Wheaties

            This guy is a paid Troll.

          • It’s all right to be a Redneck

            You’re a racist troll trying to incite genocide, what’s the difference?

          • blisschick

            Clearly you’re not reading. A pediatrician in the Flint area did all the research on lead levels on children and has all of that information. Just because you haven’t read it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

            Plus, 10 people have died in Flint from Legionnaire’s disease since the switch to river water.

            No, I’m not going to provide links. The information is easy enough to find via a 30-second Google search. Throwing around accusations and then expecting everyone else to do your research is lazy.

        • javierjuanmanuel

          There were thousands of flint people getting testing randomly before this? Show me that.

          I do not doubt there are elevated levels. I never suggested there were not elevated levels, I already used that phrase many times.

          I argued that wide spread, race based, poisoning was uniquely the fault of just the governor. Thats it. I argued almost no one was poisoned. No one died.

          Tell you what, is it poisoning if I come to your house and mold makes me sick? How about I eat a paint chip, can I sue you and quit working, and you can pay for my care the rest of my life?

          You need some context. People live to their 80s working with nastier stuff than that water for decades.

          The streets are not filled with tens of thousands of people with skin lesions, dead, with rotten guts.

        • javierjuanmanuel

          How ill it effect them the rest of their lives?

          How many ?

          Like I said, people worked in mines, in asbestos factories, lead paid, welding nasty fumes etc for 30-40 years, they live to be 70-80-90 years old.

          You are acting like this is a death sentence.

          Why would it be any worse than a parent who buys a home with lead paint, the kid has lead levels that are high. Should we test every kid that is 1st grader across the state, and if they have elevated levels their parents go to jail?

          Why not, whats the difference.

          If your kid had elevated levels, who knows how, and you lived in fenton or grand blanc, would you ask the judge to just put you in jail, no you would not. You would say, so what, he is perfectly fine, kid gets all As, he is the tallest kid in school, and is never sick. I would never know he had high levels unless you tested him!

          • Judi Blueye

            Lead causes irreparable damage to the brains of children exposed.

          • Judi Blueye

            Lead causes irreparable damage to the brains of children exposed.

      • Klann Killa

        Well how about YOU take up residence in Flint, bathe daily, and drink the recommended 8 glasses of “Flint” water daily. I wonder what YOU’D look like in 18 months, if you’re even still on the planet. Do you even think about what you type? HAVE YOU SEEN THE COLOR OF THE WATER COMING FROM THE TAP!!!! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR F-CKING MIND‼️⁉️ Obviously you don’t care for Black People, or poor people, I get that, so my next question is “would you let your dog drink the water daily?” I wouldn’t wash my cars in Flint. (P.S. Once you get settled in, how about dropping “The Turd”? a line, and let him know ‘ole “uncle Javier Juan” is available to babysit those grandkids of his. Maybe you could all go swimming up there. The turd said he’s cool with it.

        • javierjuanmanuel

          How about you go eat lead paint in all those houses, then huff asbestos in the caulk, in the basement tiles, on top of the pipes. For good measure go huff fumes from an incinerator and take in a bunch of cadmium.

          Lead does not color the water, that is iron.

          So what, Iron does not hurt you. Tons of rural people all over this country, and canada for that mater drink nasty looking water if they do not treat it. So what. Color is not an issue.

          Black people, there is about 2 % more black people in flint than whites, I am half white, not that it matters. You cannot deduce that because I am suggesting I merely have not seen a good article, and everyone is piling on the governor, gov alone not EPA, DEQ, not city workers, that it makes it look like a sham.

          You are the one with the name klan killa, is that not a group full of white people?

          Can people create a name on here like black panther killer? NOI killer, pan african killer, that will go over just great I bet. You would be the first to complain because YOU are the racist.

          52-48 white means its racist. HA. Crazy.

          Also dipshit, you do not need 8 glasses per day, that is completely made up there is no science behind it.

          So I drink clean water from the store in gallon jugs, and bath in nasty water, big deal.

          • joneshello

            You need to stop typing now. Clearly you’ve been drinking the brown water.

        • javierjuanmanuel

          How about you go eat lead paint in all those houses, then huff asbestos in the caulk, in the basement tiles, on top of the pipes. For good measure go huff fumes from an incinerator and take in a bunch of cadmium.

          Lead does not color the water, that is iron.

          So what, Iron does not hurt you. Tons of rural people all over this country, and canada for that mater drink nasty looking water if they do not treat it. So what. Color is not an issue.

          Black people, there is about 2 % more black people in flint than whites, I am half white, not that it matters. You cannot deduce that because I am suggesting I merely have not seen a good article, and everyone is piling on the governor, gov alone not EPA, DEQ, not city workers, that it makes it look like a sham.

          You are the one with the name klan killa, is that not a group full of white people?

          Can people create a name on here like black panther killer? NOI killer, pan african killer, that will go over just great I bet. You would be the first to complain because YOU are the racist.

          52-48 white means its racist. HA. Crazy.

          Also dipshit, you do not need 8 glasses per day, that is completely made up there is no science behind it.

          So I drink clean water from the store in gallon jugs, and bath in nasty water, big deal.

        • Donald E. Hodge

          Don`t waste your time on the friendly Neighborhood bigot KK, He will really want to see the slides of Brain tissue before he`s convinced that any lasting damage was done to the children and adults of the Flint area. Like most Racists I am sure he can hold a large volume of vinegar and water. Much love to you my Brother.

        • Donald E. Hodge

          Don`t waste your time on the friendly Neighborhood bigot KK, He will really want to see the slides of Brain tissue before he`s convinced that any lasting damage was done to the children and adults of the Flint area. Like most Racists I am sure he can hold a large volume of vinegar and water. Much love to you my Brother.

      • Druse

        Not so negligently( skirting testing, manipulating results) switching water that feeds households with contaminated(poison) water to save a few bucks should be a crime. Maybe it isn’t. The courts will decide, .Lead in quantities supplied through the Flint system is a poison anybody who drinks it is being poisoned. The results will show many children were poisoned to the extent they will need to be kelated.

      • Druse

        Not so negligently( skirting testing, manipulating results) switching water that feeds households with contaminated(poison) water to save a few bucks should be a crime. Maybe it isn’t. The courts will decide, .Lead in quantities supplied through the Flint system is a poison anybody who drinks it is being poisoned. The results will show many children were poisoned to the extent they will need to be kelated.

  • Alan Goldsmith

    Thank you for this recap of the released emails. Other media outlets apparently didn’t have the time or desire to make lay out all the facts here in an easy to read/follow format.

    • sensoria

      You could always read the emails yourself and come to your own conclusions. Of course, some people prefer to have things filtered through a biased source they already agree with so their thoughts can be formulated for them.

    • javierjuanmanuel

      You should look up confirmation bias. How could this be all the facts.

      We need email from EPA, DEQ, city water workers, city water workers written orders, etc.

      • sensoria

        You’ll notice Snyder released HIS emails. Where ARE the EPA’s, the DEQ’s, and all the rest’s? Hmmmm.

        • Tsk

          You keep tryin’, little buddy.

          • sensoria

            Yeah, I know it’s unlikely they will since they made the decision not to treat the water then not to do anything about it.

        • Cindi T

          Ah, but Snyder neglected to release emails from 2013, which is the year the switch was done. Did you even read this article or did you just jump to the comments?

          • sensoria

            Presumably the emails you suggest exist were between Snyder and another person. If there’s some kind of smoking gun therein, I don’t know what that person is waiting for. Whereas I do know you and your ilk are simply frothing at the mouth to indict Snyder and Snyder alone.