A new report has surfaced showing that aides to Governor Snyder were aware of Flint River’s toxicity as early as December 2012.
Ed Kurtz, Gov. Snyder’s first appointed emergency manager (EM), was given authority to make all financial decisions on behalf of Flint’s elected officials (as part of the controversial EM law Snyder passed early in his administration) first considered switching the city’s municipal water supply to the Flint River at the end of 2012. However, as the Daily Beast reported, Kurtz dismissed the idea after floating the proposal to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
This detail wasn’t made public until the Beast‘s Curt Guyette discovered a taped deposition from Jerry Ambrose, the Chief Financial Officer of Flint’s EM committee, who would later become Flint’s fourth EM. Ambrose gave the statement under oath in 2014 as part of a separate civil lawsuit filed by municipal retirees fighting Gov. Snyder’s cuts to their health benefits:
“There was brief evaluation of whether the city would be better off to simply use the Flint River as its primary source of water over the long term,” Ambrose said. “That was determined not to be feasible.”
“Who determined it wasn’t feasible?” Gibbs asked.
“It was a collective decision of the emergency management team based on conversations with the MDEQ that indicated they would not be supportive of the use of the Flint River on a long-term basis as a primary source of water,” Ambrose answered.
“What was the reason they gave?” Gibbs asked.
“You’ll have to ask them,” Ambrose said.