Marc Edwards, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha join teams focused on water, health
FLINT, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder yesterday announced a comprehensive effort to embrace all aspects of Flint, from health and infrastructure to economic development to make it a stronger city after the water crisis.
Snyder was joined by Flint Mayor Karen Weaver and leaders of state departments that are focused on working with city leaders and experts from across state government.
“We are committed to Flint, working to address immediate concerns, but also long-term challenges residents may face moving forward,” Snyder said. “We hope to help Flint not only recover from this water crisis, but also to improve the city’s quality of life for generations to come. It’s a proud, resilient city, and we are going to work with people in this city and across state government to make it stronger.”
Snyder said Flint-native Rich Baird, a top adviser, will lead a team with an office in the city focused on improving the quality of life in Flint across the board, leveraging services to benefit residents, from nutrition programs to economic development.
Baird will be joined by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Harvey Hollins – who heads the Office of Urban Initiatives—and experts from the Michigan National Guard, Michigan State Police and other state agencies.
“I’ve appointed Rich because I know he can get things done, and he cares deeply about his hometown,” said Snyder. “He has been a passionate advocate for addressing the problems faced by Flint residents.”
Mayor Weaver announced that Virginia Tech Scientist Dr. Marc Edwards has been retained by the City of Flint to oversee all water testing done by the State and the Federal Government. He is fully independent, reports to Mayor Weaver and is funded by private donations.
Snyder also announced that Edwards and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, from Hurley Hospital, both instrumental in bringing to light the problems of elevated blood lead levels in the city, have agreed to be part of Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Council (FWICC).
The council, which will set in place long-term solutions for Flint’s water system, also includes Flint and Genesee County leaders, educators, and representatives from across state government.
Nick Lyon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, outlined the state’s request to the federal government to support state efforts to address current and future medical needs. The request is for additional healthcare services for all Flint residents under age 21 to address potential problems brought on by exposure to lead.
The request will include expanded Medicaid eligibility for all residents in the impacted areas up to age 21, regardless of income level; lead-abatement programs to help minimize and/or prevent long-term health problems associated with lead exposure; and additional community-based resources to ensure all children have access to comprehensive medical treatment.
Keith Creagh, interim director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, announced the state will adopt recommendations made by the Flint Water Task Force to focus on water quality and testing.
As a member of FWICC, Creagh will have a subcommittee on water quality and water safety that will advise the city and state on necessary steps relative to the conversion to the Karegnondi Water Authority.
The state is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on a new sampling protocol developed that examines human exposure and not merely technical compliance.
The state will seek the advice of third-party experts and organizations to help assess the quality and safety of drinking water in homes, schools, child care settings and hospitals.
Water testing results are being posted on mi.gov/flintwater.
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