Rick Snyder would be facing criminal charges over Flint water crisis if he was business owner, lawmaker says


By: Associated Press

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder pauses while testifying before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington, Thursday, March 17, 2016, to look into the circumstances surrounding high levels of lead found in many residents' tap water in Flint, Michigan. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Democratic lawmaker is accusing Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder of being responsible for the lead contamination in the water supply in Flint, Michigan.

And at a hearing today, Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland said that if Snyder were running a business instead of running a state, he would probably be facing criminal charges.

Snyder told the panel at a contentious hearing that the state Department of Environmental Quality repeatedly gave him assurances that the water being piped in from the Flint River was safe — when in fact it had dangerous levels of lead.

But Cummings said the governor should have done more to push back against state experts. He says the committee has documents “showing that people all around the governor were sounding the alarms, but he either ignored them or didn’t hear them.”

The chairman of the oversight panel, Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also deserves blame. He told EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, “You failed.”

He also took issue with McCarthy’s comment that it was “courageous” for the EPA’s Midwest regional chief to resign as the crisis got worse. The Republican lawmaker told her, “If you want to do the courageous thing, then you, too, should resign.”