As far back as October 2014, Rick Snyder’s staff:
1) Knew that Flint’s water was an urgent crisis.
2) Said the decision was made by the Snyder-appointed emergency manager, contrary to what Synder and other Republicans have claimed.
3) Actively worked to hide Flint’s water crisis (or at least, that they knew about the crisis) from the public.
(Emphasis added by me.)
Valerie Brader, deputy legal counsel and senior policy adviser to Snyder, wrote in a 14 October 2014 email to the governor’s then chief of staff and three aides that Flint should return to the previous water supplier, as it was an “urgent matter to fix”.
“As you know there have been problems with the Flint water quality since they left the DWSD [Detroit water and sewerage department], which was a decision by the emergency manager there,” Brader wrote.
Minutes later, Snyder’s then legal counsel Michael Gadola responded by saying the use of the Flint river as a water supplier was “downright scary”. Flint had switched water sources as a purported cost-saving measure until a new pipeline it planned to join was in operation.
…Brader, it appears, specifically took steps to circumvent Michigan’s FOIA law.
“PS Note: I have not copied DEQ on this message for FOIA reasons,” she wrote of the state department of environmental quality, which is subject to public records requests.
The governor’s then chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, told the Detroit News that several advisers in Snyder’s office advocated for switching Flint back to Lake Huron water because “people didn’t have any faith in the water system at the time”.
But such a move – later pegged at $12m when Snyder authorized the switch back – was deemed too costly at the time, he said.
Michigan activist Lonnie Scott sums it up:
“There’s no reasonable person who can believe at this point that every adviser to Rick Snyder knew that there was an issue [in Flint], but Snyder knew nothing,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan, in a statement. “At worst, he’s been lying all along and at best he’s the worst manager on the planet. Under either scenario he’s clearly unfit to lead our state and should resign immediately.”