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Flint's mayor exploring 'legal options' after meeting with governor

Flint water bottle station
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor is talking about “legal options” after an unsuccessful meeting with Governor Snyder about restarting bottled water distribution.

Mayor Karen Weaver and Governor Rick Snyder sat down for 35 minutes this morning.

Weaver said the governor was dismissive about concerns over bottled water stations being shut down. She said Snyder essentially told her that residents need to "get over it."

The centers closed last week, after the state determined Flint’s tap water meets federal and state quality standards.   Thousands of Flint residents had come to rely on the state’s bottled water giveaways after the city’s drinking water was found to be contaminated with lead. Many still don’t trust the water.

“I told him that this is a moral and an ethical issue and the people of Flint deserve to be comfortable and have peace of mind and continue to use bottled and filtered water while we get through this process,” says Weaver. “But…the governor didn’t want to hear it.”

The governor’s office has a different take on the meeting.

“It was a good discussion about the city and state’s continued partnership, and an offer for economic development assistance to help bring new jobs and investment for city residents,” says Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton.

Flint city officials are now looking at potential legal options to reopen the water distribution centers.

“We have to explore all possibilities and this is one of those,” says Angela Wheeler, Chief Legal Officer for the City of Flint, suggesting their focus may be on potential claims involving negligence and gross negligence by state employees.

The governor’s office declined to comment on potential litigation. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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