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

5. The e-mails provide no insight into the lead-up of the water switch because Snyder declined to release communications from 2013. 

One of the biggest mysteries in the water crisis is what led to the decision to use the Flint River and why state officials ignored a report that concluded the city should use phosphate for corrosion control because of lead in old pipes.

Separate e-mails from Flint in 2013 show that the DEQ was notified of the need to provide phosphate. But because Snyder declined to release e-mails from 2013, it’s unclear how the state reacted to the warning about lead in old pipes. What’s clear is that phosphate wasn’t added and corrosion control was never properly conducted.

Former Treasurer Andy Dillon.
Former state Treasurer Andy Dillon

In April 2013, then-Treasurer Dillon authorized the emergency manager to switch its water source from Detroit to a new system.

The failure to provide records from that year also conceal how Flint’s new emergency manager, Darnell Earley, responded to concerns about the water switch when he took over in October 2013. That’s important because Earley is now the emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools, and he denied having a role in the water crisis.

Snyder has dismissed calls for Earley’s resignation.

On Dec. 23, 2015, Auditor General Doug Ringler said he combed through e-mails from 2013 “to identify the key decision points and conversations that occurred leading up to and through the situation in Flint.”

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.