Flint, Mich– Mayor Karen Weaver held a press conference Tuesday to address comments made recently that Flint City Council members haven’t been provided with enough information for the board to vote on her Water Source Recommendation.
“On April 18, 2017, I announced my recommendation that Flint stay with the Great Lakes Water Authority as its primary water source, and utilize Genesee County as a secondary water source,” said Weaver. “Since then my Administration, and other officials helping to move Flint forward, have gone above and beyond to inform members of Flint city council about the recommendation, knowing we need the board’s approval to proceed and finalize an agreement. Despite our efforts, Council members have mislead the public by saying we have not provided them with enough information to make a decision on whether to support the recommendation. That is simply not true,” Weaver said.
The Mayor said since her announcement, City Council has been given all the documents she received during the consideration process. The information has also been posted on the city’s website on the “Details and Documents” page under the Water Resource Recommendation 2017 tab on the home page. Several experts involved in the consideration process have attended committee meetings and council meetings and have even met with council members one on one at their request to provide additional information.
Flint’s interim City Attorney, Angela Wheeler, stepped in to provide dates that water expert John Young has met with City Council members to provide additional information and answer questions. She also said on May 22, Sue McCormick, CEO of the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) appeared before Council members to provide information regarding the water source recommendation. Wheeler added that officials knowledgeable about the recommendation met with Council members individually on April 20, 2017 and on June 8, 2017 in an effort to answer provide additional information, answer any questions and address any concerns members had.
Mayor Weaver stressed the Administration is indeed doing what is needed to provide Council with the information they need to make a decision and move forward on this issue. She also stated that there are severe consequences if City Council doesn’t vote on the recommendation soon.
“The EPA has made it clear that they will not provide the City with another extension to determine a water source after June 26,2017,” said Weaver. “If council doesn’t approve the recommendation, or provide a feasible alternative, they will urge the state to step in and we certainly don’t want that.”
Weaver also noted the letter sent by MDEQ director, Heidi Grether, last week to the Mayor and City Council president. The letter states that any further delay by the City Council approving the Mayor’s recommendation or a reasonable alternative will create an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public.
Mayor Waver said other consequences include, the City would lose use the 72″ pipeline on October 1, 2017. The pipeline was previously transferred to Genesee County and would be returned to the City if the Mayor’s recommendation is approved. No other pipeline currently exists to supply GLWA water to Flint. Building a separate pipeline would cost about $16,100,000 and would need to be completed by October 1, 2017. Not moving forward with a long-term agreement with GLWA will cost the City another $600,000 a month.
“That’s money we just don’t have to give,” said the Mayor. “And we would also lose the ability to access the $100,000,000 to help repair the City’s water delivery system.”
Furthermore in her letter to City officials, MDEQ Director Heidi Grether stated, “any actions by the City Council that delay approval of the agreement with the GLWA, or failure to establish a reasonable alternative proposal that complies with the USEPA’s order, will endanger public health and violate the Safe Water Drinking Act and the USEPA order.”
Mayor Weaver ended by saying, “We need to put politics aside, and do what is best for the City and the people of Flint.”