Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.39.47 AMThe fact that residents of Flint are being forced to pay for water that’s unsafe to drink is an outrage, according to Attorney General Bill Schuette. “Words can barely describe this tragedy. Things went terribly wrong,” Schuette said. “I would certainly not bathe a newborn child or a young infant in this bad water and if you can’t drink the bad water you shouldn’t pay for it.”

Schuette also said his office has begun investigating what steps it could take to provide financial relief to the people of Flint, who were subjected to chemical byproducts, E. coli, Legionnaires’ disease and lead after the city’s water source was switched to the Flint River in 2014.

Although the city has now switched back to Detroit’s water supply, health officials say so much damage was done that the water coming out of the taps is still not safe for children and water bills average $140 a month, according to the Flint Journal.

Many residents of Flint — where 40 percent of the residents live in poverty and the average household income is just $25,000 — are relying on donated bottled water.

It’s unclear if Schuette could stop Flint from shutting off water to families who don’t pay their bills. The city has previously said that hindering its ability to raise water rates and put liens on those delinquent on bills could push Flint toward bankruptcy.

Schuette’s office has launched a criminal investigation into the water emergency to see if any laws were broken, and he announced Monday that a former FBI chief and an ex-prosecutor will lead the probe and report directly to him.

“Make no mistake about it, without fear and without favor, this independent investigation will be high performance and the chips fall where they may,” said Schuette, who had balked at a state investigation until after the Department of Justice began its own probe.

Flood said he could not put a timeline on the investigation.

“It’s not about time. It’s about doing it right,” he said. “We’re going to open up every door. We’re going to ask the tough questions — ‘What did you know and when did you know it?

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  • Reina Benoir

    Wow! So people shouldn’t have to pay for water that’s poisoned huh? And it only took how long for you to figure this out?

    This entire state is a bloody disaster and this emergency manager situation is criminal. The governor and his flunkies need to be waterboarded with Flint’s tap water.

    • eLLe D.

      Exactly.

  • Mary Burrell

    The fact that they wanted to bill them is reprehensible.

  • Mary Burrell

    Make the governor and all the higher ups drink the tainted water.

    • Chazz A

      I can’t believe that people were drinking this ish……

  • Chazz A

    Every greedy politician from Snyder down, that had a hand in this should face a federal investigation. I agree with Michael Moore that Snyder should have been arrested already! The act of covering up and literally lying to the citizens of Flint under the guise of “saving money” by exposing them to toxic drinking water defies logic. And where in the hell is the EPA on this issue?
    Last yr the CDC was contacted multiple times about a Legionnaire’s outbreak in young children, according to Michael Moore. Nothing was done!
    The reactionary approach by Snyder and his gang is criminal, in my opinion

  • [email protected]

    It is purely an injustice of the highest magnitude for any resident for Flint, Michigan to pay for the poisoned water in their vicinity. For decades, Flint has been in the forefront of labor rights and social activism. Flint had one of the greatest per capital in America during the 20th century. Flint has been the victims of corporate exploitation and deindustrialization. The masses of the residents of Flint are victims of this man-made disaster (which has been caused by evil people). Governor Snyder and many local officials including other state officials are responsible for this poisoning of the water supply. Snyder and his underlings should be arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned. This situation involves the harm done to children permanently. Lead damages the human physiology forever and that poisoning is a total crime. These utility rates that Flint residents are forced to pay are exorbitant. So far, 10 people have died in this crisis and we see the rise of Legionnaires disease among many people. The anti-democratic nature of the emergency managers is an affront to the right of human beings to govern themselves democratically.

    This lead problem is nationwide too. In Louisiana, children in Caddo, Claiborne, Ouachita and Jefferson Parishes had lead poisoning levels higher than 10 percent, with children in Claiborne Parish registering as high as 40 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Studies about this problem has been ignored until recently and we have to fight for justice and what is right. This is why I’m opposed to austerity and the sick “you’re on your own” philosophy. Receiving water is a human right as protesters and others have mentioned just like health care is a human right too. Pipes are now corrosive. We congratulate those who send bottled water to people in Flint. Also, the whole infrastructure of Flint, Michigan must be upgraded. This is a problem that deserves a national response. No one should pay for poison.