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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Justice For Flint? Wyant+Wurrfel OUT At MDEQ After Water Scandal Investigation

Dan Wyant



By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com
After an independent committee investigating water issues in Flint placed blame at the Michigan Department Of Environmental Quality, MDEQ Director Dan Wyant and Spokesman Brad Wurfel are out, resigning after failing to address Flint water issues until it was too late-all despite a myriad of red flags raised by area residents, doctors, and scientists.

The decision to get Wyant and Wurfel out is critical to not only rebuilding trust in the Flint community, but also to Snyder's legacy.

If Snyder had allowed Wyant to stay without any repercussions, as people like Senate Majority Arlan Meekhof suggested, the Governor would be digging himself an even deeper hole on this issue. Instead, Snyder took action and held those responsible accountable for their actions. More heads may roll at MDEQ, sources say...
According to MLive:
"Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday accepted a resignation from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant after a task force laid responsibility for the Flint water crisis at the feet of the department.
Wyant and the DEQ have come under fire in recent months for handling a Flint drinking water crisis that lead to corrosive water running through city pipes and resulted in children with elevated levels of lead. In October, Wyant acknowledged a mistake in oversight from his office, saying DEQ officials were confused about federal regulations on making the drinking water less corrosive.

The task force in its letter blamed the department for the crisis.

"We believe the primary responsibility for what happened in Flint rests with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)," read the letter to Snyder."

Also: "Michigan Department of Environmental Quality spokesperson Brad Wurfel has joined director Dan Wyant in resigning after a task force cited department failures in addressing the Flint water crisis," MLive says.

In a letter to the people of Flint, Snyder apologized, promising to do everything he can to assist the City.

"MDEQ Director Dan Wyant has offered his resignation, and I’ve determined that it’s appropriate to accept it," Snyder wrote. "I’m also making other personnel changes at MDEQ to address problems cited by the task force."

"But changes in leadership and staff are not enough," Snyder continued. "I understand there can be disagreements within the scientific community. That is why I have directed both the departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services to invite every external scientist who has worked on this issue to be our partners in helping us improve Flint water. Let’s share research on water and blood lead level testing so we can arrive at accurate and mutually supported conclusions. Together, we should work to affirm that we’re using the very best testing protocols to ensure Flint residents have safe drinking water and that we’re taking steps to protect their health over the short and long term.

I want the Flint community to know how very sorry I am that this has happened. And I want all Michigan citizens to know that we will learn from this experience, because Flint is not the only city that has an aging infrastructure.
I know many Flint citizens are angry and want more than an apology. That’s why I’m taking the actions today to ensure a culture of openness and trust. We’ve already allocated $10 million to test the water, distribute water filters, and help in other ways. Last week, I called Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, and we’re going to meet soon to discuss other ways the state can offer assistance.

These are only initial steps - we fully expect to take more actions following the recommendations of our task force. When it comes to matters of health and quality of life, we’re committed to doing everything we can to protect the well-being of our citizens.”


Brad Wurfel



__________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com

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Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

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