LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – A bi-partisan legislative hearing on the Flint water crisis opened today as lawmakers try to get to the bottom on what went wrong and what can be done to avoid future water contamination problems.
The auditor general recapped his conclusions that the Department of Environmental Quality made some major mistakes in his handling of the Flint water crisis.
“It certainly shows we have weaknesses in the DEQ and through the state,” said Sen. Jim Stamas. “There should be a better process going forward.”
The Democrats on the legislative panel want subpoena power but the Republicans are not ready to go there yet.
Republican Rep. Ed McBroom wants to wait to see which witnesses refuse to show up. “Subpoena powers are always that hammer over anybody’s head about whether to come in or not.” When asked if he believed the governor would come in Rep. McBroom replied “I don’t see why he wouldn’t want to.”
Flint Democrat Sen. Jim Ananich wants to hear from the governor and the four emergency managers that presided over the switch to Flint river water and he thinks
the governor should take the one million dollars in taxpayer money to pay for two private lawyers and divert it to the citizens in Flint. “I question whether or not paying for a criminal defense attorney is even legal to use state money for that,” said the senator.
The governor’s office believes it is legal.
Some Flint residents attended the hearing hoping lawmakers will eventually get to the bottom of all this. “I think there is so much finger pointing and so much pr spin it will be hard to get to the bottom,” said Flint water activist Mellissa Mayes. “But with more digging I think they will get to the clear story.”
More hearings are scheduled for next week.