Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder speaks during a news conference in Flint, Mich., in this Jan. 11, 2016, file photo. (Photo: Jake May/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP, File)

While Flint Was Being Poisoned, State Workers "Quietly" Provided Water Coolers

Following release of new document and emails, Gov. Snyder told he must 'explain to the people of Flint why his administration trucked water into a state building while allowing residents to drink unsafe water'

Jon Queally

A newly obtained document and related emails released on Thursday show that while the residents of Flint, Michigan were slowly being poisoned by lead-contaminated water last year, the offices of state officials in the city were "quietly" outfitted with water coolers by Gov. Rick Snyder's administration.

"While residents were being told to relax and not worry about the water, the Snyder administration was taking steps to limit exposure in its own building." —Lonnie Scott, Progress MichiganThe emails—obtained by Progress Michigan and posted online here (pdf)—reveal an exchange between employees of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) and other state officials regarding in-house "concern about Flint's WQ [water quality]" that occurred at a time in 2015 when many residents still had no idea there was a problem with the city's public water and more than ten months before Gov. Rick Snyder ultimately declared a state of emergency over the crisis. The document at issue—dated January 7, 2015—is an administrative order showing the state had decided to provide bottled-water coolers "positioned near water fountains" in state offices so that workers could "choose which water to drink."

Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, said the emails and document offer new evidence of the Snyder administration's indifference towards the people of Flint.

"It appears the state wasn’t as slow as we first thought in responding the Flint Water Crisis," said Scott in a statement. "Sadly, the only response was to protect the Snyder administration from future liability and not to protect the children of Flint from lead poisoning. While residents were being told to relax and not worry about the water, the Snyder administration was taking steps to limit exposure in its own building."

The governor, continued Scott, should immediately "explain to the people of Flint why his administration trucked water into a state building while allowing residents to drink unsafe water."

In addition to adding to the enormous available evidence revealing the Snyder's administration lackluster (if not criminal) response to the water crisis in Flint, Scott said the documents also make it plain just "ineffective" and "unequal" the state's handling of the situation has been.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Rights Group Urges Civilian Safeguards as Biden Sends Troops Back to Somalia

"A culture of impunity for civilian loss breeds resentment and mistrust among the population and undermines efforts to build a more rights-respecting state," Human Rights Watch's regional director asserted.

Brett Wilkins ·


Australian Progressives Hail 'Greenslide' Amid Big Left Wins and Morrison's Ouster

"People have backed the Greens in record numbers and delivered a massive mandate for action on climate and inequality," said party leader Adam Bandt.

Brett Wilkins ·


Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo