Washington, D.C. – Michigan governor Rick Snyder and Gina McCarthy, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, will testify on the water crisis that affected thousands of people in Flint since April 2014, according to a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee statement released Friday.
The Committee stressed that it will be dedicated to investigating what errors took place in Flint, Michigan. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman, Jason Chaffetz, said Friday in a public statement that the institution valued the willingness of Governor Snyder and EPA administrator McCarthy to appear before the committee.
“We are committed to investigating the failures in Flint.” Jason Chaffetz said. “Their perspectives on this issue are important as we seek to ensure a crisis of this magnitude never occurs in another American city.” New reforms are expected to be proposed after the hearing takes place, he added.
Early February the Committee held a hearing from EPA, government officials and Flint residents, where they concluded that “failures occurred at every level of government”, referring to the lead-contaminated water crisis.
Susan Hedman, the former EPA Chicago and Michigan chief, who renounced in February, was also invited to the hearing that will occur in March. Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley and Miguel Del Toral, an EPA staff expert, will attend as well. An exact date for the event has not been confirmed yet.
Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement that he called the Committee in order to request an opportunity to explain the government’s actions. He added that in Michigan they were learning a great deal from the water crisis and that he expects the federal government to examine health and safety protections in place, as well as infrastructure needs, to avoid future crisis.
In January, President Obama declared a federal emergency in Flint, after it was discovered that almost 100,000 Flint residents were exposed to dangerous levels of lead contained in their drinking water, which can cause health problems in children, such as brain damage.
According to U.S. authorities, contamination occurred after residents started receiving water from Flint River, which was treated at the Flint water treatment plant, instead of water from Lake Huron.