In emails, top Snyder aides raised issues about Flint water


Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday released a third tranche of documents related to the lead-tainted water emergency in Flint that is largely being blamed on his administration. The emails show state officials — including top Snyder aides — raised issues about the water supply before the lead contamination was uncovered in September.

Here is some of what they said and when:

— Dennis Muchmore, Snyder’s former chief of staff: In July 2015, he wrote emails to two department directors warning that Flint residents who had complained about the smell, taste and appearance of the water and had raised health concerns were “basically getting blown off.”

— Jarrod Agen, Snyder’s current chief of staff: In January 2015, as communications director he received an email from Ari Adler, a special projects manager, reacting to a newspaper story about Flint’s water. “This is a public relations crisis — because of a real or perceived problem is irrelevant — waiting to explode nationally,” Adler wrote. “If Flint had been hit with a natural disaster that affected its water system, the state would be stepping in to provide bottled water and other assistance. What can we do given the current circumstances?”

— Mike Gadola, Snyder’s chief legal counsel and now an appeals court judge, wrote in October 2014 that using Flint River water was “downright scary,” and noted that his mother lived in the city. “Nice to know she’s drinking water with elevated chlorine levels and fecal coliform,” he said, adding, “They should try to get back on the Detroit system as a stopgap ASAP before this thing gets too far out of control.”

— Valerie Brader, Snyder’s senior policy adviser and deputy legal counsel, emailed other top Snyder officials asking to request that Flint’s state-appointed emergency manger return to buying water from Detroit’s water system. She alluded to problems with a carcinogenic disinfectant byproduct, known as trihalomethane.

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