LANSING, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Michigan’s attorney general will announce criminal charges Wednesday against two state regulators and a Flint employee, alleging wrongdoing related to the city’s lead-tainted water crisis, according to government officials familiar with the investigation.
The charges — the first levied in a probe expected to continue — will be filed against a pair of state Department of Environmental Quality officials and a local water treatment plant supervisor, two officials told The Associated Press late Tuesday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.
One official says the charges include violating Michigan’s drinking water law, official misconduct, destruction of utility property and evidence tampering.
A spokesman for Attorney General Bill Schuette declined comment.
The news conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. You can watch it live on air on WOOD TV8 and streaming on WOODTV.com.
The people of Flint have been dealing with lead contamination of their drinking water. It started after the city switched to the Flint River as its water source in 2014. The highly corrosive river water damaged lead service lines, which in turn caused lead to be sent into residents’ homes.
Blame has been placed on a number of people at various levels of government, including Gov. Rick Snyder, as the city was under the control of an emergency manager that he appointed at the time of the switch. There have been calls for him to resign, but he has so far said that he won’t.
Leaders at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality have also been blamed for failing to foresee the problems the river water would cause and treat it properly. That agency’s director and communications director resigned in the wake of the crisis. Critics also say Snyder and the DEQ didn’t respond quickly enough after residents started complaining about the appearance, smell and taste of the water. It wasn’t until last autumn that the state started taking action.
Snyder has apologized for the state’s role in the crisis.