FLINT, Mich. (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed an emergency declaration for Flint that clears the way for federal aid to the city undergoing a drinking water crisis.
The White House issued a release Saturday calling for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts to “alleviate the hardship and suffering” on residents.
Flint switched water supplies in 2014 while a new pipeline was under construction and the corrosive water from the Flint River leached lead from old pipes.
FEMA has been authorized to provide water, filters, cartridges and other items for 90 days. Direct federal funding also will be made available.
Governor Rick Snyder requested the federal declaration Thursday, saying needs “far exceed the state’s capability.” He says emergency measures could cost $41 million.
Meantime, documentary filmmaker and former Flint-area resident Michael Moore has returned to his hometown to call for President Obama to come see the water crisis for himself.
Moore, surrounded on Saturday by dozens of flag-waving and sign-toting Flint residents in front of the city’s municipal complex, said he must “insist” that Obama visit on Wednesday, the same day the president is scheduled to tour the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Moore also asked the U.S. attorney general to arrest and prosecute Michigan Gov. Snyder, because he “knew that toxins, pollutants, and eventually lead was leaching into the water and being sent into the taps of people’s homes.”
The U.S. Justice Department is helping the Environmental Protection Agency investigate events surrounding what’s been declared a public health and federal emergency situation in Flint.