tv Hearing on Flint Michigan Water Contamination CSPAN March 17, 2016 5:05am-9:01am EDT
committee on oversight government reform will come to order. the chair is authorized to resources. ms. hedman from the epa is supposed to be here. are you here? i should say she's formally from the dpa. the oversight reform will come to order. all rights to authorized to declare a recess at any time --
[inaudible conversations] ms. hedman is now here we will go ahead and start. plenty michigan plans michigan was a financial disaster and had the highest rate in the nation in some of the poorest water. in the spring of 2013 the emergency manager approved a plan that was going to change the trajectory of the potter and in the vote, the city council voted to support this although they didn't have the authority to execute them. they were going to move from
detroit water to the authority. it was roughly 200 million-dollar bill for cheaper water and associated jobs that would come along with it. the detroit water canceled the water a few days later so flint had a year to find another source of water so they went with the flint water source. the switch was made into the problems begin. these are some of the things that have been dedicated in mind there is no acceptable level, none. ileana walters that is here in the audience today, we appreciate the grave nature in which you have stepped forward.
she is a citizen, she isn't a water expert but she stepped forward and get a difficult thing and somehow to get a hold of the epa in federal debate coach for cheaper teen where at the epa came out to michigan and actually started doing some testing. by june june of 2015 the report was finalized. the report was then leaked if you will. it was put out there. we have with us than a year at the time. look at his resume. he's a smart person, well educated and ingrained in the committee. he went out on television and i want to show a clip from that because there is a reason why he actually went on television that i want to show that clip now. >> okay so we are here on the
set. are you ready to drink it? >> my family and i drink the water every day. it's your standard tap water. you taste a little bit of chlorine. all the taps ever since this year are comparable with what we used to get out of detroit. last year was different, but chlorine levels were elevated into was a concern to those issues have been put behind us and now i think it is more a matter of perception. >> thanks for joining. you said your family uses it every day. just is there a taste? >> it is similar to any other tap water. it has a little bit of a cool dream taste treat anyone that is used to drinking bottled water that is purified or distilled that will be different than you get out of the tap that we are testing it regularly and they are available online so we want
people to know exactly where the water stands and we are continuing to improve it with a new carbon filter going in next week and will continue to get more dependable and secure. >> was july 8 of 2015. the report was finalized in june. i think we are going to hear testimony that the epa communicated to the mayor it was safe to drink the water and the message was then conveyed to the citizens but it wasn't until january of this year the epa actually took some definitive action. it's not to say that the epa is the only one involved. the department in michigan is also at fault here. but if the epa or the michigan department of environmental ecology would have taken action in the summer of 2015 when the epa region five manager wrote a memo to his superiors warning of the dangerously high levels,
perhaps none of this would have happened. what is sick about this is that it was totally avoidable. the former head of region five dismissed and downplayed this memo calling it a preliminary draft and asserting that it would be premature to draw any conclusions. so the residents continue to drink the water poisoning them and their families. the next opportunity came from city officials. the congressman was also very engaged in this. it reached a fever pitch in september of 2015 and still come and no, no action was taken. in the fall, local residents filed an emergency petition with the epa, and she continued to dismiss the problem and claimed the epa was monitoring the situation. in december the city declared a state of emergency. a month later, governor snyder declared a state of emergency
and activated the state's emergency operations center and requested a federal declaration of disaster. finally on december, i'm sorry january 21, 2016, nearly seven months after the memo, the epa issued an administrative order citing imminent and substantial endangerment exists with regards to the higher levels in the water supply. how many more people were poisoned in those seven months and how many more illnesses worsened in those seven months? the same day that the mr defeat could emergency order went out she'd been signed but her resignation doesn't ease the suffering for the residents in flint and what concerns me we will deal with on thursday is the action of re-signing was characterized by the epa administrator as courageous. it was courage according to the administrator. like i said we will deal with that on thursday.
what happened in flint can never happen again. it's almost unbelievable how many bad decisions were made. the government at every level, local, state and federal and our role is to ensure federal agencies and employees do their job. according to dpa website commission is to protect human health and the environment. they failed at every single letter, every single level. instead, the epa seems to be working on other things, other priorities. i will enter some things into the record and this will make some people uncomfortable. there've been a lot of accusations about was this driven by a race race or the fact that this was a poor city or was this because they are underserved? there's a lot of accusations. this is an internal memo and i
want you to understand who this is going back and forth with. this is jennifer cook of the epa manager, the epa region five branch manager and timothy henry the region five associate director in the water division and steve marks, i don't know how to pronounce his name, but the engineer. this is an internal memo. go ahead and put it up. september 24. perhaps you already know all this but i'm not sure that flint is a community that we want to go out on a limb for. are you kidding me? the epa administrator said that susan was courageous for re-signing. it didn't take us but a couple hours once we got these memos to find the problem here. you can take down that. why isn't flint the community
they go to? of all of the communities the one that is having the toughest time is the one that needs the most protection. you can shake your head and say yes but if the epa had every opportunity to make the right move here and they didn't end of the department of environmental = don't think you get off the hook either because one of the things that is fundamentally and totally wrong is they have the information and they wouldn't release it to the public. the house has passed a piece of legislation saying when you have this information you have to release it within hours. that's common sense. it shouldn't take an act of congress to tell the epa that they need to make this information public. we are going to have good vibrant hearings today, so i would ask unanimous consent to enter this into the record.
without objection, so ordered. i would also like to enter into the record darnall in order number 15 dated june, 2014 turning over to the emergency manager at the time the day-to-day operations for the department of planning and public works without objection so ordered. another e-mail from miguel and this is a correspondence back and forth hatred july 8, 2015. one of the concerns is that he's premature on the putting much on the line, right there on the front lines. one of the things i've heard that is the most disturbing is
he felt like he was retaliated against. we have a had a hearing last week about the reactions of the whistleblowers coming up and talking about the efforts and here you have on july 8 she finally gets fed up and one of the things he said is it almost sounds like i'm stuck in a corner holding up a potted plant. one misstep in 27 plus years and people lose their minds. this is the same one who wasn't allowed to travel. he suddenly had to go to ethical training and do all these other things. that's how it was operating. he should be put up you want to give a raise, give it to him, he was doing the right thing but he's being reprimanded and i would ask that this be entered into the record as well. on july 15, 2015 i've also entered this into enter this into the record without objection so ordered and then
finally, he gets fed up and september 22 and this is how he starts the e-mail. this is no surprise that he calls to lead poisoning. this is how it starts in september and the epa didn't do anything until january. i don't understand that. this is the kind of thing that was to immediately get out to the public. immediately. let me read another paragraph from this e-mail. at every stage in the process it seems we spend more time trying to maintain the local relationships than we do trying to protect the children. i said this at the beginning and i will say it again you don't have to drop a bowling ball off of every city to prove that gravity and science will work the same way everywhere. it's basic chemistry.
then i ask unanimous consent to enter that into the record without objection and to enter into the record and eta internal memo november 3, 2015 after reviewing the rope with the office road with the office of the general counsel appears that there is a different interpretation on the rules respect to how the treatment process applied to the situation which may have led to some uncertainty with respect to the flint water system. at the wall that already passed out of congress is that it's supposed to be updated every six years. we are now being told it won't be updated until 2018 after it is supposed to. and you will hear back and forth in the correspondence concerned from the state and the department of environment but are they supposed to do and this is the general counsel, i'm sorry the director of the office
of ground water and drinking water saving this continues to be a problem and he's highlighted this as an ongoing problem. so, there's a lot here to discuss. this should never have happened in the first place. with that i will recognize the ranking member mr. cummings. >> i want to thank you for holding this hearing today and agreeing to our request to obtain documents as part of this investigation and for calling the person who hasn't been mentioned yet, governor snyder to testify on thursday. some people in your position might have shied away from this investigation. but you came through on your promises and i think you forgot. also want to thank you for
agreeing to the request. to transcribe interviews of key witnesses. last week our staff traveled to michigan to interview daniel wyatt, the farmer director of the michigan department of environmental quality as has been mentioned yet. he re-signed on december 29, the same day the governor's task force issued its standing report, the governor's task force. according to that report, his staff told officials inflamed that corrosion control treatment wasn't, quote necessary. mr. wyatt said that. the staff also misinterpreted
the federal lead will and the failures come and i quote this comes from the governor's task force now, quote, it led directly to the contamination of the flint water system. again, this is all according to the governor's own task force. he was a very difficult witness who evaded many of our questions. last december he apologized to the people of flint but he wasn't remorseful or apologetic in his interview with the committee. in fact, he disputed almost everything the governor's task force concluded about his failures. despite this obstruction, he did tell us an interesting fact come and it was very, very
interesting. he said in all the time he served as director, and despite all of the public outrage about the actions, the topic was never raised in any cabinet meeting. not by the governor or by anybody else. ladies and gentlemen, there is something wrong with this picture. that was all the way through december of last year. i don't know if this is exact but if so, it is interesting. the staff also interviewed one of the governor's emergency managers. the state law but the governor championed in 2011 gave him the
authority to basically disenfranchise local officials and overrule their votes into their own emergency managers with complete power over the cities. city employees were required to obey their orders. during his interview, he told us that his number one priority is coming his number one priority in the top priority of all of the governor's emergency managers was to cut spending, cut spending. everything else was viewed through the lens of the cost-cutting public health and safety clearly suffered as a result. this is why in march of 2015 when the flint city council voted to reconnect the clean
drinking water from detroit, mr. ambrose used his power to overrule their vote. he thought it was too expensive and it was cheaper to keep using corrosive water from the river. something is wrong with that picture. even though the state of michigan has major budget surpluses, and he told us that he never once, not one asked for the funds to help them switch back to clean drinking water from detroit. mr. chairman, our investigation is not complete. we have another interview coming up with edwin, the governor's second emergency manager and there are key questions he needs to answer. for example, there was a general agreement that shifting from
detroit water to the new pipeline being built could save money, but the pipeline was still under construction and there was going to be a gap of about two years. the county chose to stay on detroit during this period but he hired an engineering firm to use as a primary source of drinking water. we have yet to see any detailed studies before this which analyzes what was needed to be done to ensure that the water coming out of the tap would be safe and how much that might cost.
where are the analysis and documents? finally, we have heard republicans focused their criticism almost extensively and exclusively on the epa. i agree, the officials could have done more, and i agree that everyone has faults must be held accountable if you recall when you asked me about bringing the head of the epa i said bring every single person that might have anything to do with this. i'm not trying to i am not trying to protect anybody except the people in flint. but under the federal law and regulations, states have the primary responsibility to enforce the same drinking water act. in this case, michigan officials displayed an abysmal public response. that's according to the governor's task force.
the governor's task force said that. their actions again, simply insufficient to the task of public protection. again, those are not my words they are the words of the governor's task force. the task force included with this they said we believe that the primary responsibility for what happened rests with the michigan department of environmental quality and code so we will continue our investigation. there are 15 people that the congresswoman and i asked that we meet with and conduct interviews. none of them would cooperate and so we still have work to do.
i mean this sincerely, i think you for holding this hearing and the hearing on february 3, today and the one coming on thursday. >> thank you. >> we will hold the record open for five legislative days and for any member that would like to submit a statement we will recognize the panel of witnesses and welcome the former region five administrator of the united states department environmental protection agency. mr. darnell the former emergency manager of the city of flint michigan. it's important to note that there've been a couple of different managers. he served for portions of the time but not the entire time. mr. dain is the former mayor elected in august of 2009 and a special election we elected for a four-year term in 2011. and doctor mark edwards, the charles lunsford professor of
environmental resources engineering at the virginia polytechnic institute and state university. mr. edwards contribution to the process has been invaluable and i appreciate his participation. somebody independent understands the technicality for the water and his unbelievable time of dedication expertise for both sides of the aisle. >> we appreciate your commitment and perspective here. all witnesses will be sworn before they testify. if you you will rise and raise your right hand. >> do solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give, the will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but
the truth? >> thank you. let the the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. in each of your written statements will be entered into the record entirely in order to allow time for discussion and questioning by members, we would appreciate you limit your oral testimony to five minutes. >> turn on the mic. >> a good morning mr. chairman. ranking member cummings cummings and distinguished members of the committee. i am susan had meant the former epa region five administrator. thank you for this opportunity to testify about my role in epa's response to the flint water crisis. and the reasons i decided to resign. i first learned that flint was not implementing corrosion control on june 30, 2015.
approximately 14 months after the city started using flint river water that was not treated with ortho phosphate. the next day i offered technical assistance to flints merrick, assistance from epa's experts on drinking water distribution system. the following week we issued our first statement encouraging for residents to contact their water utility for lead testing. it would provide information about limiting exposure to lead and tap water. on july 20 first, three weeks after i heard about the problem the michigan department of quality agreed with epa's recommendation to require flint to implement corrosion control. they needed to do that as soon as possible. a recommendation recommendation that my staff have been making since late april, when they first found out that corrosion control was not being implemented. that should have solved the problem. it did not.
during the weeks and months that followed, they were slow to deliver by our agreement on juls hampered by lack of institutional capacity and resources, epa responded the only way we could, by working within the cooperative federalism framework within the safe drinking water act. that framework assigns a legal primacy to states to implement drinking water regulations and gives epa the job of setting standards, and providing technical assistance. in keeping with that framework we provided technical support to the state and the city to implement corrosion control and to provide the assistance that flint residents needed to limit their exposure to lead. most of the time this cooperative federalism model works well. even in a crisis. in fact, it worked exactly the way it was supposed to work when
the toledo water crisis occurred in 2014. but as we all know, it did not work in flint. consequently, epa was forced to evaluate the enforcement tools available under the safe drinking water act. which are more limited than the enforcement provisions of other environmental statutes. when i use the threat of enforcement to motivate the state to move forward we found that the enforcement options available to us were of limited utility last fall due to the unique circumstances of this case. in the end, with the help of the eph flint task force corrosion control was finally implemented. testing now indicates that the protective coating that prevents lead from leaching into tap water is being restored. that is the good news. the bad news is that this problem should have never happened in the first place.
i need to remind you, epa had nothing to do with that. finally, i like to say a few words about my resignation. i resigned in part to the false allegations about me that were published in early january when epa was unable to correct the record, before those allegations began to damage the agency's ability to perform critical work in flint. by the third week in january i was widely portrayed in the media by someone who quote sat on the sidelines and downplayed concerns by epa scientists about lead in the water that is completely untrue. the material and appendices two and three make clear that i did not sit on the sidelines.
i did not downplay any concerns raised by epa scientists or apologize for any memos they wrote. in fact, i repeatedly asked for a final memo about lead in drinking water in flint in a form that epa could publicly release. when mde q attacked a region five scientists by calling them quote a rogue employee, i immediately called the mde q director to complain and in a subsequent call i made it clear that the scientist is a valued member of the region five water team. a point at which i made even clear when i subsequently appointed him to the task force. there was a time for these explanations in january in the wake of all the emergency declarations. flint residents had lost trust in government. the false allegations about me give the people of flint less reason to trust epa. on the day i reside i sent a
note to administrator mccarthy saying, in light of the allegations that have been made about me, the time it will take to set the record straight, i think this is the best course of action to assure the effectiveness of epa's response to the flint water crisis and to make sure the flint residents get the help they deserve. that was one reason for my resignation but there was another. quite simply, this is this tragedy happened on my watch. i did not make the catastrophic decision to provide drinking water without corrosion control treatment. i did not vote to cut funding for water infrastructure or for epa, i did not design the perfect statutory framework that we rely on to keep our water safe. but i was was the regional administrator when this crisis occurred. having spent my entire adult life as an advocate for the environment and public health and much of that time representing citizen groups, i knew that only one thing mattered to flint residents.
the water was not safe to drink. what happened in flint should not have happened anywhere in the united states. i was horrified that it happened in my region, the great lakes region. i thought, and still think that resigning was the honorable thing to do. although i have left government service i have not stopped worrying about the people of flint. i am very encouraged to see that the corrosion control treatment that was implemented in december is recoding the pipes. the water may soon be safe to drink. i am even more encouraged to read that there is growing congressional support for funding to replace the lead service lines in flint and to fund water infrastructure throughout the country. i like to close by asking all of
you to support that legislation, and more generally to support the long overdue investments that are needed in this nation's water infrastructure. thank you for this opportunity to testify, i welcome any questions. >> thank you. mr. early you are now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you chairman. ranking member cummings, congresswoman, and to the other numbers of this committee, i do thank you for the opportunity to appear at today's hearing. it gives me an opportunity to share with you any factual information i have regarding any and all information regarding the public water crisis in flint, michigan. my name is darnell, i've been a public servant for nearly 40 years in michigan, for filling filling roles at the city, township, county, manager and administrator, as well as the state government employee,
appointee. i have also served as acting mayor of flint. during the time that i've city administrator. i hope that you would glean from my comments this morning that have a deep affinity for the city of flint and for the people that reside there. i recently served as one of four emergency managers appointed by flint and that was between 2011 and 2015. my appointment was october 2013, i served until january 2015. as i listen to the hearing before express concerns about the emergency manager law and its effect on the communities. the law certainly does not provide for limitless disenfranchisement and total disregard of the community it is elected officials and certainly not as people. during my tenure as a city manager and township manager i have always, always involved the
elected and appointed officials in the management of the day-to-day operations of the city. i did know different influence. indeed, as the chairman just shared with you i signed an order delegating day-to-day operational authority over not only the department of planning and development but over the department of public works which included the flint water treatment plant. i signed that to the mayor, the mayor served as part of our core team, as part of our as administrative staff and had day-to-day responsibilities that i consulted with him as well as other members of the core team about the day-to-day operations of the city of flint. that's what city managers do. as the crisis in flint has unfolded, we have now witnessed the very difficult and inexcusable actions on the part of government agencies. delay, wrongful protocol and in
the midst of this crisis i tell you that i believe i had been unjustly persecuted, vilified and smeared both personally and professionally in the media and by some local, state, federal officials federal officials as well as by a misinformed public. it is important for me to state that because part of my main reason being here today is to set the record straight. to make clear that people understand that the role of an emergency manager is designed to benefit the community and to help it regain its financial stability. therefore clear points i want to make. the first is the detroit water and sewer department was a local decision, as the chairman have you shared with you, the city council voted to move from the dws deed to the kwa. this was not a one, immediate
kind of decision made in a vacuum. there had been discussions about leaving the detroit water and sewer department and building its own water system since the time i was there from city administrator from 2001 at 2004. this was not new discussion. the second point i want to make is that i made no decision about the use of the flint river. that was all all part of the discussion of moving from dw st to k wa in a two-year period in which we had to find water. the city had to have water. in a notice from the detroit water sewer department they sent , they terminated the contract which left the city with no viable options for water. the flint river had served as a backup for the dws t water system and served as the primary water source for flint prior to the mid- 60s. this was a known commodity. the fact that i was in at the time the switch was made does
not mean that it was my decision. that is an important part to make because there were four emergency managers appointed during that time. i had the responsibility of having it happen on my watch because the contract terminated it, but in that process i involved everyone in the discussion, we did all we could in order to move the city forward toward a new water system. that brings me to my third point. that is during my tenure as emergency manager, when complaints were raised regarding the water, the water treatment staff, everyone everyone worked diligently to address those issues. the issues we are addressing however, and i must make this clear, were were related to the treatment and chemistry of the river, within the treatment and chemistry of the river created residue that caused a lot of negative impact on the water. those impacts had nothing to do with lead leaching into the
pipes. we were not told that was an issue. we were trying to create a situation of treatment for the residual for retreating the water. we did those things that were necessary. we gave to boiled water advisories at the advisement of the michigan environmental agency. after two of those i began to feel that we are not getting to the heart of the issue and had asked that we bring in a separate water consulting authority, to take a look at this and find out what was going on. even in their analysis, there is no mention of the lead leaching into the water. we were treating water contaminated based on tth m and other residual chloride, not the lead issue. the lead issue surfaced after i completed my term as emergency manager in january of 2015.
as we all know, we're grossly miss led, while i do not have any great pride in knowing that, i do think it is important because not only does the city of flint depend on the regulatory agencies but every city in the state of michigan, as well as the united states of america. let me offer a statement to the chairman, know that i am sad and i am very deeply hurt by what has happened on my watch and as emergency manager. i am disappointed in the water crisis of flint. as i said earlier i have a special affinity in the community and the people residing there. i used to live in flint when i was city administrator. i have administrator. i have relatives and family members there now. i have worshiped in the churches, alongside the parishioners in the city of flint.
i patronized buildings, i went back to flint as emergency manager because i believed i could make a difference. i too rank the water. as a former acting mayor of flint i regret what transpired. the human nature inside me cries out for a resolution of this matter on behalf of those who are less fortunate and do not have the capacity to make these things right. we do have the capacity to do that. this is a water treatment issue. this is not a leadership issue, this is not who is responsible, who can we blame, this is how fix a bad situation and make a better for a community who is not only about 60 miles from where i live. where i go and i know the people. not one day goes by that i do not pray for resolution of this problem. mr. chairman and members of this committee, the hard work and dedication of many will be
needed to solve this problem. to be reasonably sure that it will never happen again, it is therefore my prayer that everyone's attention will turn to solving these challenges, including formulating plans to address the agent crumbled water conditions systems that exist not only throughout flint but throughout urban core america. until we do this, many other cities are just one experts mistake away from an outcome similar to the flint water crisis. thank you mr. chairman and members of the committee. i would be happy to answer any questions you have. >> thank you. we'll now recognize mayor walling for five minutes. >> good morning chairman, ranking member cummings and honorable members of the committee. i also think you for the opportunity to present testimony and to be invited to the steering. the tricky water crisis in flint
is a catastrophe. it has had a devastating effect on our families, our most vulnerable children and seniors, our schools, neighborhoods, businesses, the entire community. flint is a strong city, it is going to survive. with the rights or port it will thrive. but flint never should have been in the situation. as a father raising my own family in flint i am deeply concerned for the children and all of the people who have been affected. i am sorry this crisis happened every single day. i am angrymoore was not done to address the water problems. i appreciate the committee's effort to identify what went wrong so problems can be fixed, so that flint can move forward on this never happens again in america.
from my experience as mayor until november 2015 i've three main points one they focus too much on cutting costs without adequate safeguards and transparency. the regulators provided false assurances to us about the safety of the water and withheld risks. third, governor snyder unfortunately discounted local concerns and did not act with urgency. the problem started with the switch to the flint river to the cities drink and water under the control of a governor appointed financial manager, mandated to cut costs. the switch was decided by efm kurtz in june 2013 who signed an engineering contract to upgrade the water plant and who adopted a two-year budget for the river, water implementation without any public input or involvement from
us as local elected officials. i was there. that is what happened. the actions taken by myself and the city council in march 2013 to support the long-term use of a new lake here on pipeline did not include using the river as an interim source. the finance director's projections, finance director jerry ambrose who later became emergency manager, showed payments for detroit water been made until the new pipeline became operational. but the reality was the state financial managers had full control. they had control of the city's budget, finances and personal for nearly four years. even as i am city council were granted some responsibilities, the appointed managers continue to parcel out information and make all of the purchasing, personnel and legal decisions in consultation with the state. i did not sign one city contract
were purchasing resolution during the time the emergency managers were in place. from day one with the river, the michigan department of equality provided assurances trust the flint water was safe and met the standards of the safe tricky water act. when i reached out to the epa for guidance, i did receive information and assistance but the full risks were not shared. i had my own concerns about the river, was hearing concerns from the public, but but i did rely on the information provided from the mdq and the appointed public works leadership. my family and i drank the water in our home. i echoed these assurances to the public which i fully regret, and will never do again. we know now that we were getting bad information and worst water. children were poisoned with lead and we found out because local
doctors analyze health data themselves, despite continued resistance from the michigan department of health and human services in october 2015. i push for the returns of detroit water as the fastest way to bring corrosion control in and the county declared a public health emergency. tragically, there were opportunities missed and dismiss that could have averted the water crisis. i call for forms and programs in january 2015 to make the water safe with all test results publicly released. the city was releasing operational reports but the lead test were not being shared and disclosed. i contacted the governor directly with my plan, as i believe any mayor in a crisis should should do regardless of the emergency managers. my initial request was for 20,000,000 dollars dollars yet we received only $2 million in grants. now, the the costs are hundreds
of millions. with an unknown number of children and families affected. the governor discounted the complaints, even of concern to pastors and parents. apparently from his office's emails because we were viewed as adversaries of the financial manager system with illegitimate claims. when, in in fact we are michigan citizens with toxic water. as someone who continues to live and work in flint, i hope more will be done to aid the city, help the city heal. but citizens have fought so hard, our families haven't toured so much, we simply deserve the same safety and opportunities as anywhere else in america. thank you for the opportunity, i look for to your question. >> thank you mayor. we now turn to mr. edwards, you edwards, you
are now recognize for five minutes. >> after hearing the testimony of susan this morning i cannot help but comment on the qualities that seem to be valued and administrators at the epa. willful blindness, in this case to the pain and suffering of flint residents, on remorseful for their role in causing this man-made disaster. and to completely unrepentant and on able to learn from their mistakes, ms. hedman said the epa had nothing to do with creating flint, epa had everything to do with creating flint. now at the epa from 2001 until the present it has harm to cities all over the united states. incredibly, even as national guard walked the
streets of flint, distributing bottled water and installing filters on taps, michigan and the epa are able to say that flint has never failed. [inaudible] this is possible because epa has effectively condoned cheating on the lead and copper monitoring since 2006. this is because epa and other agencies caused a similar water crisis in washington, d.c. from 2001 until 2004 that actually 2004 that actually was a 20-30 times worse in terms of the health harm to children in washington d.c. they completely covered that up for six years. and wrote falsified scientific reports, it created a climate in which anything goes across the united states, anything at all, to cover up health harm from lead in drinking water. since 2006 when we realized this
cheating was occurring, i worked with a small group of people who tried to expose these practices to epa, and we failed. we failed to get epa to take lead and water risks seriously, because we failed i was not surprised when flint occurred, i was expecting a flint to occur. if a landlord were to engage in similar practices and to their negligence allow even a single child to lead paint risk, the epa would argue for prosecution and incarceration. yet epa has allowed entire cities to be unnecessarily exposed to elevated lead in their drinking water. they have covered up evidence of their unethical actions by offering these falsified
scientific reports. they never apologize for what they did in washington, dc. incredibly to this day they have not apologize for what they did in flint, michigan. no apology. completely unrepentant and unable to learn from their mistakes. i guess being a government means you never have to say you're sorry. yesterday i would have to say that i was dumbfounded to read an op-ed by epa administrator gina mccarty, that effectively dissolved epa of any wrongdoing, or any role in creating the flint disaster. aside from creating this climate in which a flint was a allowed to occur, i purposely observed, witnessed, and uncovered wrongdoing by ms. susan hedman at the epa in covering up this problem.
ms. hedman, and every step aided, abated and was involved in unethical behavior of civil servants of the michigan department of environmental quality. she allowed flint children to be harmed. why should she not suffer the same or worse fate than a commonly lord who does the same thing? flint residents not far from the truth with the assistance and compassion and outsiders, it is incredible the harms of flint never would have been exposed. instead to quote her statement i do agree with her, it is tragic, it took a disaster a disaster of this sort to get this issue the attention it deserves, let's do something about it. ms. mccarty, you could start by acknowledging epa's failures over the last decade to enforce the provisions of the epa rule. this is a critical and necessary
first step to make epa once again were the undeserving of the public trust in its noble mission. >> thank you thank you mr. edwards, we appreciate it. >> now to go to questioning will first recognize a gentleman from michigan. >> i appreciate the fact that we are in a hearing and will have another hearing and we are intent in getting answers, and ultimately addressing the concerns of people of children that we have the privilege to see this we can flint standing along our colleague. we want answers but we won action and ultimately we want solution. this hedman, you say in your testimony, i will reiterate it again the bad news is that this should never have happened,
looking at the faces of the children, the community members there in flint on saturday they would concur with you as i would concur with you as well that you went on to say, as did gina mccarthy, administrator of the epa in the article just refer to was in shock and all you made them today and i said i need to remind you, epa had nothing at all to do to be clear, you actually believe the epa had nothing to do with the crisis in flint? >> no. okay miss admin, what i have here in front of me section 1431 it is the law it pulls from the epa's website this morning which
it describes the emergency powers authority given to the epa in an event of eminent, let me state that again, an eminent and substantial endangerment to public health. do you believe that the people of flint have at any time faced an eminent or substantial endangerment to their health? >> yes. >> then, was this endangerment of flint not evident when the epa learned of the high lead levels in june 2015? >> section 1431 requires there be both substantial endangerment and the state fails or the city fails to take the action. >> will did they they fail to take action? >> well, -- >> i think the answer is yes, don't you you? >> the legal advice as i got was that once the state had issued the order directing the city of flint to implement corrosion
control and the mayor stepped forward to indicate he would do so as soon as possible, it was likely the state of michigan would argue there is a jurisdictional bar. >> argument is one thing, dealing with the job you have is another thing. the issue was we had seen so far the action was not being taken, doctor edwards and others, community members and others that we have heard from thankfully, it was not happening. why didn't the epa intervene and take control the situation as soon as they learned. this is a crisis to human health, doctor edwards, doctor edwards, do you think the sediments response was acceptable. >> completely on acceptable and criminal. >> how long should have she waited. >> i do not know the law but as a human being she should have told people immediately.
>> miss admin, in july 2015, you told flint's mayor to disregard mr. del toro's preliminary memo that found high levels of lead in the flint water supply, why did it take another five months for the final report to come out? >> i never never told the mayor to disregard that memo. in fact, if you would look at appendix three of my testimony, you will see what actually occurred during the conversation that i had with the mayor. >> there's great dispute on that coming across the board. >> yes, i wrote the e-mail. i know what i said. if we can take the time and take a moment to talk about that i think we could clear that up. >> i'm not sure we could. mr. del toro certainly has a different recollection of it, as well as responses to him.
i had the opportunity to talk with him in flint on saturday as well. very different from what we are being told here. that is the concern. again, human decency act, when the issue was brought to by authorities in the fields, by actual testing, the epa did not do what it needed to do, even if the other entities going down to the local level and the state level were not doing their duty. we are certainly going to ask them about those issues. i look forward to those responses as well. mr. chairman, i see my time is up and i yelled back, hopefully i can gain time from other individuals on the the road. >> i think the gentleman. we now recognize the gentleman from new york. >> the flint drinking water crisis is a national scandal.
it cries out for accountability from those that are responsible. that is what we are trying to accomplish today. i would like to begin with mayor walling. mayor walling, and mr. early statement to the committee he meets to several statements that specifically concerned the involvement of yourself and the city council and the decision to switch to the flint water. first, mr. early alleges and i quote, the concept of using the flint river is an in as an interim water source was inherent in the city councils kw
a water authority vote, and the margin 2013 order. ". so mayor walling, at any time did the city council ever voted to use it the flint river as an interim source of water? >> no. >> not mr. early never says the city council voted on this issue, rather he very clearly implies that somehow their vote to join the kw a water authority meant they approved the use of the flint river as an interim source. so mayor walling, in your prepared statement before the committee and i quote "the decision in june 2013 to switch to the flint river was contrary to the water plans and financial
forecasts provided to me and the flint council in 2013" i'm going to put on the screen. what is notable to me when you see this, this is a seamless movement, it never does this document mention the taking of water from the flint river, is that correct mr. mayor? >> that's correct. >> this is what was put before the city council, is that correct. >> that's right, that was march, 2013. >> if i were member of the city council i would think that was a seamless movement and that the
flint river was never tonja met the kw a and detroit water would be what was there, is that your interpretation of a? >> that is what was provided in the documents. that is what took place in the city council meeting that i and others made. >> now mr. early also alleges that he delegated all day-to-day responsibilities to mayor walling, as of june 2013 which notably was after the switchover so mayor walling, it appears appears to me that mr. early is attempting to deflect blame for this crisis onto you and to the city council of flint, what is your response to that? >> that? >> i was surprised when the statement was first made. it was made through an op-ed in october 2015. first of all, mr. early at the time was serving a city manager in the city of saginaw, he was
not serving in the city of flint, i was and i know what happened and what the process was. the first frequently asked question that the city of flint provided an early february 2015 with so many issues came out was the finance director and the city's public works director provided that recommendation to efm kurtz in june 2013. >> in reality, to cut to the chase of it, who actually made the major decision related to the water issues in flint, who made those decisions? >> they were put in place by emergency manager kurtz in june 2013, that included and adopted to your budget that set the equipment in purchasing a personnel for the department of public works for the next two years. that is what mr. early later inherited. >> mayor walling, my time is up but what mr. farley had the
power, would mr. early had the power to keep clean detroit water flowing if you wanted to? >> yes, the emergency managers often amended the budgets they were working with in consultation with the state. >> and they had that power? not the city council? >> correct. >> we now wrecking recognize the gentleman from michigan. >> they could chairman in the panel for being here. especially professor edwards who is been an extremely valuable expert in this area. i share your concerns about the epa and its relevance headman's role in this, mr. walberg make important comments in that regard. mr. early, you wrote a column
for the detroit news in october 2015, is that correct? >> yes, that is correct. >> mr. chairman i would like unanimous consent to enter this into the record. >> without objection. >> you make clear today and in your column that your decision to switch over to the flint river was made by the previous emergency manager in the city council is that correct? >> that is correct. >> in your op-ed, you say it felt to me to oversee the implementation, correct question work mark. >> correct. >> also in your op-ed it says it did not fall to me to question, second-guess or validate the actions taken place prior to my appointment. you really believe that? is. >> i believe that based on the fact that there is no petition, no effort made to engage me to change what had already been implemented. >> sorry, so you believe is an emergency manager, someone, someone was put in charge of the city of flint, it does not fall
on you to question, second-guess or validate any actions taken prior to your poignant? >> no, what i mean by that is it does not fall to me to arbitrarily change that. that was what i was referring to speemac's and that the job of a city manager to question things? isn't that why you're brought in? >> that is part of the reason. >> if as a congressman i took the position that it is not my job to question, second-guess or validate any actions that happen prior to my being here, what i be doing my job? >> will of everybody were telling you the project was on course and everything was going well, there is nothing to second-guess. >> so if congress passes in a previous termini get elected i'm just supposed to say everything is okay. i don't have any work here, is that right? >> what i'm saying is that you would obviously have to do your due diligence but if it comes up and there is nothing to change, there's nothing to change. the change. people are telling you the project is on course, keep in mind i was only one mini project
and the distressed community that the emergency manager was responsible for. >> in your op-ed you also say at the time the decision was made there is no way to predict such an unfortunate outcome. you also call it an unintended consequence with no blame to fix. so as the person appointed in this position, or as an elected official, are we not supposed to concern ourselves on unintended consequences? not supposed to think about those things? >> no, that's not what i'm saying. i'm saying because of those unintended consequences, we now have what is known as the flint water crisis. in hindsight there is a lot more that everyone would have done, a more questioning people would have done. when you have an 18 month window to turn around a distressed community going through it second round of state
intervention, the object is to get the work done and enlist as many people as you can to get that worked on. >> isn't your job to think of unintended consequences? >> we also think of the possibility of hypotheticals, absolutely. >> deeply did that in this case? >> i believe based on the information we are given, given, we acted responsibility and did what we did knowing the information we had at the time. >> according to michigan's emergency manager lock, upon appointment and emergency manager shall act for and in place instead of the governing body in the office of chief administration of serve the local government, additionally the emergency manager should have broad powers to assure the local government task provide be provided as necessary governmental services. what in your view is emerging managers goal? >> as i said earlier my comments, city manager i have always evolved elected and appointed officials in the work i did. i did no different as emergency manager.
and involving them, they are the experts, they handle the day-to-day operations, they were very much of all. >> when a city has an emergency manager, who's responsible for insurance compliance to the state federal laws regarding safety water? >> regarding anything the emergency manager is the person responsible for making sure those things get done. i have always accepted that. >> so you take responsibility for that? because in your op-ed, the headline is don't blame ian for flint water disaster. >> i'm trying to draw a line between responsibility and blame. we were all responsible due to the virtue of our roles. >> what role did you have a what step did you take in ensuring the flint water treatment plant was prepared to meet the state and federal drinking water standard, knowing the flint river would be the primary water source? >> we had regular meetings of the progress record in the plant, as we got to switching over the flint water, i had regular meetings with the
treatment staff, the mayor was a part of reglan meetings we had, we all had discussions about the progress in the things that were being encountered in the switch. once we made the switch and had complaints about the quality of the water, we went to the deq and went to water advisories which are common in the case of treating water. we had meetings on a couple of occasions with the anti-queue to talk about what is going on and what is actually being treated. let me again say for the record and none of those meetings where the current issues we are dealing with now a problem. they were not not addressed, they were not issues brought to our attention. we did everything we could to make sure we were being responsible to the complaints and concerns of the quality of the water. >> i think responsibility involves pain attention to unintended consequences, thinking about what may have happened. my. my time has expired. >> i think you. i not recognize the district of columbia for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman.
mr. edwards talked about willful blindness, i want to warn everybody about willful blindness that is built into the separation of power system. that is why finger-pointing of the federal and state side, either on this committee were among our witnesses is quite inappropriate. now this committee has recognized, to its credit, this committee passed in this past february a bill, they actually pass a law that requires the epa to notify the residents of high levels of lead win water samples show lead levels in 10% of the homes are 15 parts per billion. why do you think we needed a law, because there is unusual difference on the part of federal officials. when people's laws laws are in
danger, when help is in danger, there is an obligation to speak up when the state is not doing its parts. mr. del toro did speak up to his supervisors but he risked being a whistleblower and we know what happened to whistleblowers in our system. so my question is not aimed at finger-pointing. it is clear though that once you have the slightest evidence of lead in the water, wherever you are in the system, you better speak up because this is irreversible. you can't turn this one around people. i have a question for mr. early recognize in the federal as well as the state responsibility, but let's look at your responsibility. people are not crazy. they began to smell orders in the water, they saw the color of the flint water change, and that started one month after the
water plant began processing on your watch sir, the flint water. they began to speak out. they complained even about skin rashes and hair loss. those complaints, it it is our information it continued for eight months while you are emergency manager flint, did you ever consider, given those complaints, switching back to detroit water was the public started to sicken and to speak out? >> let me just make again very clear the fact of the complaints, we responded to those. we sent our water staff out and
collected samples. keep in mind we were also working closely with the michigan department of environmental quality on these issues. while the water did have some discoloration, we are told a number a number reasons for that, none of which raise the fact that water was not fit for human consumption. we we relied on information we re- see from the michigan department of environmental quality as this was a manageable issue. >> mr. early, you have asked ordinary powers. as an emergency manager. was money ever a concern, or enough of a concern test the governor to for state funds to reconnect to the detroit water system during your time, on your watch? >> again, we were trying to manage the issue. >> the smell of the water and constant complaints were not enough of a warning for you to try to do something beyond rely
on the experts? the experts seem to have been, mr. early, and the public. drinking the water. >> we relied on the michigan department of environmental quality. we got the information from them. >> my time is limited, sue mccormack of detroit water wrote to you offering to continue supplying water to flint michigan until the water authority project was complete. you wrote back, there will be no need for flint it to continue purchasing water to serve its residents and businesses after april 17, 2014. thousand 14. why did you reject this offer? and continue using detroit water is a source?
>> it just to be clear, the letter you refer to went to the city clerk, at the time. >> you had no knowledge of this letter? >> i was not the emergency manager at the time the letter came inches by the time we got there we had already been notified the contract have been terminated. >> but you were the emergency manager before the switch was implemented, on your watch you could say wait a minute, i am in charge now. wasn't this your job to look at what should be done now? now that you are in charge, sir? >> we did look at that. again, we followed the guidelines with the information we were given. importantly in that letter -- >> what about the warning that came, imagine receiving a warning from somebody in the line that says i have people above me making plans to distribute water as soon as possible, i am reluctant to go before but after looking at them schedule and current standing i do not anticipate given the okay to begin sending this water out
any time, if any but water is distributed from this plant in the next couple of weeks, it will be against my direction, what more did you need? >> that did not go to me, man. that that did not go to me. that e-mail went to the director of the department, i do believe. it did not go to me. >> your name is on the letter mr. early. >> you're talking to different things. >> what the other thing sir. >> the letter from dws dn and e-mail that came from one of the operators that talked about the distribution of water. >> the woman's time has far expired. i now recognize the gentleman from florida. >> mr. chairman and members of the committee, i think this hearing is going to be known as the great to finger-pointing hearing.
we have flint mayor three people under the bus, we have emergency manager throwing people under the bus, we got ms. hedman, former epa administrator for that area throwing people under the bus, somewhere it seems people were asleep at the tap and not doing their job. now, if the locals failed, the mayor fails and the emergency managers failed, and there were failures there, mr. edwards, what role with the federal government have? >> they are the last resort, and the last overflow resident. >> if, and the reason we put epa together was to protect people, right? in cities, communities and states where they did not have
to protect the water of the people. >> that is right. >> where they notified? there are some here as in this. first the hero is ms. walters and her family because they notified the local people in the federal people, and everybody they could that they were poisoning their kids. mr. del toro wrote an incredible meadow, he acted, ms. hedman, wasn't he an epa official? >> he was assigned to. >> yes, he did a great work highschooler could read his memo which he produced, and june 20 fourth. june 24. it tells you the violations of the city. it tells you the incompetence, then it tells you it is poisoning their children. it is documented. all the steps and violations of flint are listed here, not just this but they
have a history. they listed on the back. i highschooler could read this and evaluate it. now you got that memo, right ms? >> i'm not sure when i got that memo. >> but you gotta, right? okay, june. now you were a rare this. and you to talk, didn't you? did you talk to to talk, didn't you? did you talk to her about this memo? >> yes. >> yes you did talk to her. but i would want back to see if you talk to your constituents, the woman a family whose whose kids were being poisoned. we knew this early in 2015. they knew it at the end of 2014. we had the test that proves, he went and improved and tested the pipes and did everything. at first he said they were led into the house, there is no lead there they were plastic. so you told her at the library on march 31, you were aware of it.
you went to ms. walters and told her you are aware of the situation would take care of it, right? you would do anything. didn't you tell that your constituents? >> yes. >> she showed up april second, 2015 in your office and said you were gone for easter but would be back with her on monday, right? >> that is what they told her, telling you that's what she told me. today is what? march 15, 2016. you have not been back with her sense. but you are aware of this memo, they try to suppress it it wasn't pretty because it says your constituents were being poisoned. so, this is an incredible failure i believe at all levels, particularly particularly the federal level. that is our responsibility. when we get a memo like this from someone from epa doing
their job and a constituent reports it and we have the evidence of the poisoning, this, missile belt or as a hero and the things he did, every test possible. he conducted every test possible, as that right? mr. edwards did you read this? >> his memo is proven to be 100% accurate in every way, shape and form. >> and every way, shape and form. >> and yet ignored at the local level. ignored at the emergency management level and then the oversight. that's our responsibility. when all of these levels fail, epa. you never acted for what, five months after this memo, ms. edna? >> that is incorrect. in fact, the following following day i offered led experts to the mayor, and within three weeks we had concluded an agreement with mdq to order flint to issue corrosion control. >> ..
mr. chairman. there were red flags that should have led to them to return to the detroit water system. they tested the water as early as summer 2014. the outbreak, the astronomical reading and all of these early signs should have been reason to have a safe water supply. it was not in their financial plan to return to the detroit water system. on one night 2015, they had raised concerns about the safety of flints water. he wrote suggestions have been made to the city of flint to return to using water purchase
through detroit water and sewer do department. they can't afford to switch horses at this point but they also said it was not financially prudent to spend $18 million to purchase water obviously we know the water was not meeting the same standards as the water coming from detroit. is that correct? >> yes then did you consider changing course that any any.regarding the safety and quality of the water?
>> we were trying to diagnose the causes. again there was an issue of coliform, e. coli and other things. we were not talking about lead at the time. >> the point is simply this. the city of flint does not have the money. >> sometimes, i mean, look common sense should take over. the general motors plant stopped usually water when it started to rust new cars. what would that tell the average person? they need to stop drinking it. i mean come on, is that that difficult? is it that hard to determine? >> we continue to lie on the department of environmental
quality. until such time as they deem the water unsafe to drink, we were doing all we could to manage contamination and to also make the water assessable. >> look, after january 15, 2015 letter a few days later the director of the detroit water system sent you a letter offering to reconnect the city of flint to the detroit water supply. why did you retract the directors offer question not. >> i did not do that. i was gone from flint. i had left flint by that time that letter came out. that rejection was written by my successor. again there were four emergency managers during this period. that letter of rejection came from my successor. >> so it came down to you for your successor trying to save $18 million? >> no it came down to the fact that the city did not have $18 million. they were were already paying some of the most exorbitant and
highest water rates in the country. we have litigation pending now from the customers who are fighting the rates for the water. that was even before the contamination problem. >> going along with your line of thinking then, where, when do we say public health and safety matters and it's the responsibility of the state of michigan or the epa to step in and say, we are endangering lives. we are endangering people for the rest of their lives. when does that occur? >> from day one sir. >> yes, but you didn't do it. >> the issue of lead contamination came out in 2015. they came out after that. the issues we were dealing with in terms of contaminated water where the tta jam, the e. coli and the coliform materials that were found in the water.
that was the result of the distribution system age, it was a result of the number of water main breaks that we had in this particular time. this was the perfect storm for things to happen while we were switching from one water source to another. we tried to manage those. >> didn't common sense tell you what general motors did when they changed the water system that they were using because it was resting the parts? what did that say to you? >> we were told regarding that situation was because of the raw nature of the machine parts that general motors was producing, the treatment materials that we were putting in the water was indeed having a negative impact on their products. it did not correlate to a negative impact on consumption of the water. >> for the record, i have a letter in response by darnell
early rejecting detroit water to change back. so make this part of the record. >> without objection. >> i yield back. >> before the gentleman yields back i'll give you an opportunity to respond to this inquiry as well. it sounded like you had something you wanted to say. the gentleman yields back i recognize myself for five minutes. when did you first know there was a problem with the water and flint? >> the first time i was briefed was december of 2014. i was briefed on the byproduct issue. my staff have instruction to bring it to my attention and they briefed me.
>> you knew about it in 2014. when did you first have a conversation with the mayor? >> my first conversation about tth him about the byproducts occurred in late february. he requested drinking water expert in that area. i supplied him with an expert from the epa lap in cincinnati. >> he went on television in july of 2015 and told everybody that was safe to drink the water. did you just do that on your owner who told you that that was a viable thing to say? >> the mdq had repeatedly provided a certain assurances that we heard over and over again a technical advisory meetings, discussions with staff that it was meeting the standards and safe to drink. >> did you have a discussion discussion with the epa? >> dr. admin and i spoke around that time after the memo was provided and it was explained to me that that memo was under review that the scope of the problem was being assessed and that my understanding at the time was this was limited to very particular cases because of what was there for led service
lines and plumbing in individual houses. >> mr. edwards, what is your take on that? the email is very clear that she apologized for mr. del toro's memo and they asked her if there was anything that should be concern to client residence and she's said no. >> why did you do that. >> i didn't apologize for the memo, i apologize for taking all day to get back to the mayor and that was because i was out of the office for a medical procedures. >> that was one day. >> in fact, during the entire time. that doctor edwards imagines that i was covering up data, i was actually out of the office. i did not return until july 13. during that time, my deputy, who dr. edwards describes as one of the good guys was actually in charge of the office.
>> so mr. edwards, this memo from mr. del toro is pretty comprehensive. does it tackle the issue? does it inform them about the water. >> yes it informs him that flint is not being protected by federal law and public safety is in danger. >> when should that information have been released question. >> had epa just stayed silent and not apologized for the memo and told mr. walling that mr. del toro was accurate in what he said, i doubt mr. walling would have gone on tv to drink the water and tell flint residence it was safe. >> is that true? or you talk to a lot of it? the memo comes out your getting inquiries from news organizations and others saying what you doing about this and you go on television and say it's safe. >> i did trust the guidance that i was receiving. that's what i regret in this looking back.
i deliberately reached out, i asked the white house government of affairs for contact in the epa. this is why we were still under emergency manager. i wanted to double check on what we were hearing from the state regulators. when were hearing essentially the same thing from the state and the federal regulators then i relied on that information and that's --dash. >> what does the white house ask you to do? >> asked you to can indicate with who? >> i asked the white house for a point of contact. >> in the white house directed you to? >> dr. susan heckman. >> how long did it take before the epa confirmed and came back and said yes that report is accurate? >> they didn't, did did they. they never did, that's the point. you left office, you were there for months and months and they
never did come back and actually confirm it. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> you were in office being paid by taxpayers until january, late january of 2016, why did it take you so long? >> mr. del toro's memo actually dealt with lead in one residence and to neighboring residents. the conclusion of the final version of the memo was that the problem had been caused by a physical disturbance a led service line. it was particular to that household. >> mr. edwards, this is not a report about about one house, was it? >> mr. del toro nearly pointed out that flint was not being protected by federal corrosion control law and the public health an entire city was in danger. this is where your fundamentally and totally wrong.
>> if you don't recognize that now, we are in mid-march 2016 and you still don't get it. you still don't get it. neither does the epa administrator. you have screwed up. you messed up people's lives. >> mr. chairman,. >> no, no, no. >> mr. del toro was just one of several people at region five who were concerned about the failure to implement corrosion control. it had been communicating to mde queue at higher and higher levels of epa management. >> this information was out there publicly. it had been released. you didn't like it, did you. >> mr. del toro did somebody release that report? did he do the right thing or not do the right thing question that. >> i do not believe he released the report. i think we need to be read
clear. >> was that the right thing for that report to go public? >> there were three reasons they could not release the report. >> what are those? >> first it contains personal identifiable information, health information and that kind of information is not something that we could release. so before the report's release, that is typically redacted by our office. >> so a black pen would take ten seconds or so. okay, go on. >> secondly the material in the report included requirement enforcement information that we do not released to the general public. again that would be a redaction issue. additionally there was data in the report that we neither collected nor analyzed and it needed to go through a standard q a qc. i directed that be done as soon as possible. it was my expectation that the report could be finalized and
put in a form that could be publicly released before the reporter had to file his story. that was my expectation at the time. >> and it took seven months. mr. edwards, your reaction to her comments? >> i'm just in disbelief. my time is expired. i recognize the gentleman from virginia for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. i was in local government for 14 years in virginia. my point of contact on the environment almost always was the department of environmental quality. i thought you gave a very eloquent passionate and suitably outraged opening statement but you focused on epa almost exclusively in that statement. when we actually get to how government works and what the mechanics of it are, the local government relates first to the deq and the environmental protection agency doesn't run water.
it requires, it relies on estate bbq. i've heard a lot of talk about let's not finger point, but we do need to get to the bottom of this and how it works. i don't don't think this is epa's proudest moment. i for one, coming coming from local government for 14 years am not going to let them off the hook because it sounds better for one philosophy to shift entire blame on the federal government. there's plenty of blame to go around. i don't want to be an enabler to avoid getting to the bottom of what happened and to let it happen. let me just say, mr. early, you said it was your successor who declined the offer of detroit water, but my colleague mr. clay entered entered into the record a letter dated march 7, 2014,
addressed to sue mccormick to trade water and sewer department signed by you. you say in that letter, we expect the flint water treatment will be fully operational and capable of treating flint water prior to the date of termination. in that case there will be no need for flint to continue purchasing water service to serve its residents and businesses after april 17. sue mccormick sent that letter letter -- took that letter to be a rejection letter of the offer. did you intended to be a rejection letter to the offer? >> let me response. there were two very distinct letter to the water and sewer department. one was drafted to by me before the issue of lead that was discussed amongst the u reference. there was another draft that's by the successor, that also said
the same thing. my letter was in response to the fact that the project was already underway, that the city had invested millions of dollars into the new water system and they wanted a long-term water agreement which was not feasible. >> were you aware when you wrote the letter about concerns about the quality of water coming from the flint river question. >> in march of? >> this is march 7, 2014. >> that was before the switch from. >> but you were planning the switch. >> this which was already planned well before i got there. >> i understand. were you aware, when you wrote the letter that there were concerns about the quality of water coming from the flint river question. >> we hadn't switched yet. >> i'm not asking that question. >> were you aware, did anyone ask questions or have any reason
to believe there could be water quality concerns taking water from the flint river? >> i did not because the deq had certified the water, the state had given the permits, all of the things that were necessary to move forward with the project. >> okay. your testimony today and other things you've written are pretty harsh about the michigan department of environmental quality. correct? >> yes. >> you say they missed their opportunity to identify piping corrosion problems and they had multiple warnings from the epa. is that correct? >> yes. >> it is that your testimony that am deq ignored warnings from the epa? >> i can explain why they responded the way they did. >> i didn't ask that question. are you saying they had multiple emphatic warnings from the epa. and they ignored them? is that your testimony? >> no.
>> ms. hedman, that statement statement that there were multiple emphatic warnings from epa, what is mr. early referring to from your point of view? >> what is the letter again? >> he said that the am deq received multiple emphatic warnings from the epa. >> i thought you were referring to leavitt letter. >> no i'm not referring to the letter. >> i'm referring to his testimony. >> so in february 2015, epa inquired about the type of corrosion control that was being implemented in flint. my staff was told that flint was fully optimized for corrosion control. it wasn't until april 24 that the am deq told our staff that
flint was not exercising corrosion control. from that point at higher and higher levels of epa, we repeatedly, emphatically and urgently told am deq that it was important to implement corrosion control as soon as possible. >> my time is up to want to thank you. irrespective of our politics or anything else, this is a catastrophic failure with our citizens and if government exists for any purpose it is to protect our citizens in health and safety and this is a catastrophic failure in that mission. thank you. >> we recognize the gentleman from ohio. >> i would give my time to the german from michigan. >> i think the gentleman from ohio. let's go little bit different track. i'd like to come back to ms. hedman again but initially, and first, epa finally actively intervened in flint in late
january 2016. mr. edwards, dr. edwards, in the last few months, what steps have been taken to make flint water leadfree? >> i saw you there saturday. i saw you talking with residents and filters and all the rest. what steps have been taken? >> they have switched back to detroit water. they have implemented corrosion control effective december. we believe the lead levels are dropping dramatically as the pipe coating is reestablished and we are currently sampling with flint residence to see house by house how much lower lead levels are now, and it's our hypothesis that what is about four times better now than it was at the height of the lead poisoning incident in flint neighborhood. >> how long do you will take,
reasonably speaking, for the water to be safe? >> in order to meet existing federal standards which is not a high bar, as i've already said, you have to do a federally proved sampling that flint has never done in the history because they've never sampled the right homes and they been using sampling protocols that miss led water risks. >> to have records of the homes that were sampled? >> yes we do but they did not have leadpipe as specified. other cities around the united states, philadelphia's now acknowledge they did not sample enough home with leadpipe. according to the requirements of the law, this is something epa has been allowing since 2006. >> do you believe it's necessary and reasonable for flint to replace all of the lead pipes? >> i think that we have to, and obviously that is desirable. i think ever but wants that happen. nobody wants it more than me,
but i think we have to consider seriously what's the best place to invest in flints future to help flint get back on their feet. they have needs in terms of the water main. flint has more water main breaks per mile than almost any other city in the united states. that's one of the reason their water bills are so high. there's many infrastructure needs that have to be addressed and that's why am in favor, although i don't think it does enough, i'm in favor of this flint bill to get money to flints residence for infrastructure. >> we heard saturday 40% water being wasted due to breaks in the lines, leaking out. that's amazing. we talk about people having to pay those water bill when they're not even getting the water let alone the water being safe to drink. let me go back to ms. hedman. in your testimony, you stated i resigned in part because the false allegations about me that were published in early january. you specifically cite having a
january 12 detroit news article titled, epa stays silent on flints tainted water, in which mark edwards is extensively quoted saying people who knew about the lack of corrosion control should have acted immediately. let me ask you, is it a false allegation to say that people who knew about contaminated water should have acted? >> no and we did. we did. as soon as i learned about this, i offered led experts to the mayor. we reached out again to am deq and had reached an agreement within three weeks that they would order flint to issue corrosion control as soon as possible. in the interim, we issued a statement. >> i think mr. del toro would not agree with that and mr. edwards. what is your position?
>> she did nothing to protect flints children. nothing. >> the article also quoted another man of flint who said anyone who read his memo and failed to act should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. that's the minority leader of the michigan legislature. is he wrong? ms. hedman? >> mr. del toro's memo contain the same recommendations that i had been receiving from others in epa who had followed through starting on june 10 before that del toro. >> yet he was disciplined for his memo. >> no he was not. >> he was disciplined for standing up. >> he was not. he was not. >> mr. chairman, with that disagreement, i yield back.
>> did you make them go through ethics training? >> no. >> no? >> no. >> do you really believe that? did you limit his travel? >> no. >> there was no discipline whatsoever? >> none whatsoever. >> is he a hero or villain in this? >> he is a hero. to be clear i recommended him for the highest award from epa. >> when question what. >> in september. in his modest way he declined to be nominated because his work wasn't finished. >> you need to go back and read the emails in the memos that were provided to us by the epa because that is not what was happening within your organization. if you were in charge of that organization. >> i can tell you that my deputy, who was in charge during the time period that you are concerned about, got wind of that and he went down to the water division and put an end to it. when i called him he told me
that i didn't even have to tell him, he took care of it. >> did anybody at the epa do anything wrong? >> are you asking me the question, if i would do this all over again. >> no i'm asking you, you were in charge, did anybody at the epa do anything wrong? >> i don't think anybody at the epa did anything wrong but i do believe we could've done more. >> i want to -- ms. hedman you're under oath, do do you understand that? >> yes. >> i think i just want to make sure you are clear as to what you are saying because if you're not clear, i don't want you to be subjected to some kind of criminal inquiry. i just want to ask you this. did you retaliate against
mr. del toro in any way question that. >> absolutely not. >> so you said something just a moment ago, you said said your deputy did something. what was that? you said he cleared up. what did he clear up? >> so after i sent an e-mail to the mayor, the mayor requested that we reach out to the reporter again. i replied to the mayor by saying, at this point i'm not inclined to have my staff have contact with reporters. they need to finish the report because i didn't believe they would be able to get a final report out. i understand through a series of e-mails that came to me, later around july 7 or 8th, that that was forwarded and interpreted as some sort of direction that nobody was supposed to talk to reporters.
when i saw that e-mail, i called my deputy because i was concerned about the flavor of that interpretation and he said, no problem, i've already handled it. >> all right, thank you. >> we will now go to the gentleman from pennsylvania for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. early, i want to revisit the question with you on the decision using the flint river. he submitted an opening statement in writing. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> i read it and it said it's not my decision to use the flint river nor was it a two-pronged decision. you said using the flint river as an interim water source was inherent in a march 2014 order order. did i read that correctly? >> yes. >> so you said the decision to
use the flint river was inherent in the city council's vote, that's opposed to explicit. it was not explicit, correct? >> that is correct, sir. >> okay, that's not what the mayor testified to. in fact, mayor walling also submitted a written statement and he said on page four of nine, contrary to the fact, governor schneider's office and former emergency manager darnell early have stated in repeated blatantly place false claims that i am a city council made the switch to the flint river. did you read that? did you have access to his opening statement? >> i did not, sir. >> okay, well he said that and mr. walling, a simple yesterday and no, do you stand by that remark? >> yes. >> that's a yes for the record. all right.
here's the point mr. early, you have the power at the time. i like to clarify your power as emergency manager. i will read a passage from the law that created the position of emergency manager and it said this, this, the emergency manager shall have broad powers and receivership to rectify the financial emergency and assure the fiscal accountability of the local government, local governments capacity to provide or cause to be provided necessary government services, essential to public health, safety and welfare. have i read that correctly? >> that is correct sir. >> do you agree as emergency manager you had broad powers? >> yes sir. >> once you issued an opinion it was law. it says, in order issued under this section is binding on the local elected and appointed officials and employees, agents and contractors. have i read that correctly
question that. >> yes sir. >> you use those broad powers to cut about $18 million from the budget by moving away from the detroit water to the flint river and this was the agenda from governor snyder's office to save money. that was the emergency referred to in emergency manager. it was an emergency in the environment or in public water or drinking supply. it was an emergency about money. it was a money emergency manager that you were and your testimony you set a proposal for detroit water wasn't on sustained financial fantasy. did i read that correct? >> yes sir. >> did you at any time use your broad powers to request additional funds to help flint purchase safety detroit water during the transition? >> no sir. >> that's exactly what they did after tens of thousands of people were poisoned by the lead in the drinking water of flint.
correct? >> yes sir. >> it took a public health crisis of these proportions with thousands of victims for flint finally to receive the state funds needed to protect its citizens, didn't it? >> yes sir. >> i wonder what all this is about the governor of michigan. they say the emergency managers shall serve at the pleasure of the governor. you were doing the governor's bidding. in fact i read the detroit news this morning and your pastor, reverend marlon jennings, is that your pastor? >> he is a pastor i know from the city of flint. >> he was talking about you in today's paper. it's unfortunate that he was caught up in this quagmire of responsibility to the governor and his position and at the same time trying to serve the people of flint. he said it turned out that the two were diametrically opposed. his job as emergency manager is to carry out the wishes and execute the plan and program of the governor. did you see that in the paper
this morning? >> i have not seen that this morning. >> you do not have reason to disagree with the pastor do you? >> i would say the role as defined there is pretty narrow. it's a much broader role. i think the real goal is to return the city or the school district back to financial solvency. >> after all of this the governor appointed you to the emergency manager that detroit public schools after you got done with flint. your salary for that job was $41,000 more than what you made in flint. am i correct in that? >> yes. >> it looks like the governor was pleased with your performance in flint. i you'll back mr. chairman. thank you. we now recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. meadows, for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. ms. hedman, let me come to you because the chairman and the ranking member both question your last round of testimony so
is it your sworn testimony that you did not directly or indirectly retaliate against mr. del toro for him being a whistleblower? is that your sworn testimony? >> my sworn testimony is that we did not and i have no knowledge of anyone in epa who did so. >> and you've looked very closely at that because we've been led to believe very differently and that's why i'm giving you one last chance to perhaps correct your testimony here today because your under sworn testimony and were very concerned that we get the whole truth and nothing but the truth. you have no knowledge, indirectly or directly, of any retaliation that came against him? >> no. >> alright mr. edwards, you work very closely very closely with mr. del toro. how would you characterize that
statement in light of your close working with him question. >> i don't think ms. hedman understands the climate she created at region five epa. even before mr. del toro wrote that memo, he told me that he had to protect flint's children while minimizing the likelihood that he would be retaliated against. >> again has he shared with you that he was retaliated against? is that your belief? >> well, i mean, obviously he was told not to talk to anyone to flint or about flint. a deal a deal of some sort was made between epa and mdq where they felt they had handled mr. del toro and flint residents would not be hearing from mr. del toro again and so that's
when we got involved. i invested $200,000 of my own money, a team of, a team of 25 volunteers from virginia tech had to go in and demonstrate that the flint residents were not crazy and the lead in water was high. >> so is it your testimony that somehow mr. del toro was handled by the epa and the department of water quality from michigan to silence him in his dissent for the children of flint michigan. >> absolutely. >> miss hedman, how do you respond to that? >> i know of absolutely no evidence to substantiate that claim. >> let me go a little further because some of what you know and what you don't know is i guess the problem because your testimony here today says that the epa had no fault here that was in your opening testimony. there is no fault. >> no.
>> so you stand by it, in light of everything that's coming out that there is no fault for the epa? >> that is not what i set on my testimony or in my answers to the questions. so the epa is at fault? >> i said i thought we could have done more. >> listen, that's political speak. are are you at fault or not? >> in what respect? >> in respect i guess ms. hedman. here's the problem, we have children that have been harmed, and yet we are sitting here equivocating over words that may or may not have established blame and i'm concerned that what we are doing is we are just wiping our hands of it and saying that i had nothing to do with it. is that your testimony? >> it's not. >> so is epa partially at fault?
>> i believe we could have done more. >> all right, so let me go a little bit further. mr. edwards in the last time we were here before this exact same committee, i asked you about a request from the epa because you had gotten lots of information from michigan and zero from the epa. did you ever get your for your request responded to? >> no, there there is still outstanding appeals from nine years ago. the request that we had for email came in redacted. >> when to those come in? >> the. >> the day after the hearing? >> oh i did get one the day after the hearing, yes.
>> isn't it amazing how it takes a congressional hearing to have the federal law adhered to. and it's redacted? >> the emails. >> more than personal information. i've usually we want to redact personal information. >> the emails that that we received from epa about the flint rotter crisis were almost 90% redacted in terms of attorney-client privilege or unresponsive. everything was virtually redacted from those e-mail. >> so redacting all of that, normally when we redacted for national security concern. do you think the epa has national security concern here? >> i'm not familiar with the e-mails. >> i'll yield back. >> before the gentleman yields back, the gentleman. >> no. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. i'm in a go back and follow up on some of the things mr. meadows said. the chairman introduced ms. hedman document into e-mail and its personal e-mail exhibit six. anyway, is mr. del toro, he's
writing a letter to somebody named rita. you know her? >> she works in the region five water division. >> apparently he was denied an opportunity to go to milwaukee for some kind of conference. this is what struck me and it kind of fairs out what the chairman and mr. meadows was getting too, it says, i told you about this project during the check-in's as well as in my performance review so i'm not sure what you intend by your message. this is the piece that gets me. it almost sounds like i am to be stuck in a corner holding up a private plan because of flint. one misstep in 27 plus years here and people lose their minds. why do you think he said that?
>> first of all. >> it sounds like he's being retaliated against. >> first of all, i had never heard of that e-mail until this morning. i am appalled that anything might have done to make him feel that way. >> while i'm kind of glad you quit. i'm glad you resigned. let me tell you why. , and i've told the chairman this. there is something going on in that region five that we need to deal with, and i don't know exactly what it is, but there are problems. i am determined to make sure that we do that. you no, mr. early, i gotta i gotta tell you, i almost vomited when i heard you say something a moment ago. you said that even after you found out that newly manufactured parts were starting to rust out by using the flint
water, that you didn't see that as a problem. i mean wait a minute, i'm confused. if they're going to rust out, newly manufactured parts, that doesn't send you a warning that may be human beings might be being harmed? come on now. >> i was relying on the information that i was given from the organization and the staff. i'm not a water treatment expert. >> you don't have to be a water treatment expert. a 5-year-old could figure that out. anyway, let me go on to mr. waller. as you know the governor has not agreed to testify on thursday.
it's clear that the governor had an important role to play in the flint water crisis. he appointed the emergency managers who ran flint during the crisis and the governor made the decision to help pay for flint to reconnect to detroit water system. that was october of last year. i want to get your perspective on how the governor handled the flint water crisis. i want to make sure we address everybody who may have been responsible for this fiasco. mayor walling, when did you first start having major concerns about the safety of the water coming from the flint river? >> i had growing concerns as the complaints were coming in from the citizens. >> give me a date. >> route the summer 2014. >> all right. >> and. >> and when did you first reach out to the governor for help? >> i reached out to the governor in january 2015. >> in your january 18 letter you wrote, i am writing to can they serious concerns about water quality and request your support
for the flint water quality in provement plant. why did you write a letter to the governor and what were you hoping to achieve question. >> i wasn't seeing enough being done by the city managers to address this problem. i believe this needed to go directly to the governor. i do know what his staff was telling him or not but he needed to hear directly from me as the mayor of the city what needed to be done to protect and serve the citizens. >> let me read an e-mail from one of the senior staff commenting on your request. >> he wrote, mayor walling is seeking to drag the governor into the conflict with both hands. >> mayor what is your response to that what you think the governor was asking. >> i've read similar e-mails and i was highly disappointed that chief elected official for the state of michigan would view in
that kind of manner and then the staff around him would be given him that counsel. here's a community that's already under a financial manager that's now dealing with a crisis and other issues that are unresolved and i come to the governor with a professional letter, asking for him to respond to help investing come to the city of flint and meet with residents. it took him a year. >> i got it. >> you sent another letter. is that correct? >> yes. >> you wrote about heightened concerned about lead leaking into the water from old service line and old plumbing that also needs to be addressed. so eight months after your first letter, you were still asking for help to improve the safety
of the water in your community and still nothing was happening. mayor walling how did you feel when you found out the state was not treating the flint water crisis print nearly a year and a half? >> i was stunned because it had been said to me, i know to other staff in our community in public forms that it was meeting the standards and comparable with detroit. they said it was safe. we had heard that time and time again. this was from the in michigan department of environmental quality that we look to for that guidance. >> let me read you another e-mail that the governor's chief of staff said much more. >> he won't talk to the spirit he's the chief of staff but he refuses to talk to us. he wrote, listen to this one, frankly i think both know that walling went out on a cya
effort, you know what that means,. >> yes i do. >> you do to the election. what's your reaction to that e-mail? >> it's sickening because when we are getting the research results from dr. edwards and we are looking for ways to respond, despite getting resistance and to suggest that that was a political motive on my part when i'm doing everything i can despite the budgets that were required to follow and the contracts are in place. we are looking for answers. we are looking for help. it appears that the governor's office did that across the board with our elected officials. we were all discounted for some reason. >> i have to quit now, but i have have to tell you, as i'm listening to all of this, it is sickening. all of it. there is no reason in 2016 why
people should be, when they turn on their faucet should be getting poisoned water. you know what, 70 said earlier, this is this is the pointing of the finger. you did it, you did it. we are so much better than this. we have to be. this cannot be the norm. i do not know why that is but i'm telling you i think there's a lot of failures and i hope we get to the bottom of it. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. we now recognize the gentleman from georgia for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. edwards, let me begin with you. last month when you were here i asked you some very pointed questions about the epa responsibility and quite frankly, i am shocked, stunned by the audacity of ms. hedman's testimony today. testimony today. let's begin, if we can, with a brief clip from the hearing last month.
>> okay, mr. edwards let me go to you. do do you believe in any way that the epa's management of this whole thing hindered its employees from having the ability to do their job? >> absolutely. >> absolutely. okay. you believe that the epa's management made the lead crisis in flint worse? >> absolutely. >> absolutely. who at the epa do you find fault? >> susan hedman. >> pardon me? >> ms. susan hedman who had the memo buried, covered up and stood silent as mr. del toro was publicly discredited for his work. when she was questioned by politicians from all parties through as late as september of this year, she discounted there was anything of concern in flint occurring at all. that includes mayor walling, people from the state government as well as democratic
congressional staff. >> okay. those are powerful words. after seeing this clip do you still stand by those statements? >> yes i do and i will point out the silence on the part of the epa's interpreted as acquiescence. >> let's go further than. there has been more information brought to the table today. is there anything you would like to add to your statement that we just watched based on testimonies we heard today? >> just that mr. del toro's misstep as quoted in his e-mail was his proudest moment in one of epa's proudest moments to. >> a few minutes ago ms. hedman stated that she responded immediately and i noticed while she was stating that that you
are shaking your head. in fact, when given the opportunity, you responded authoritatively that she did nothing. you. you said it a couple times, she did nothing. first of all, do you believe that ms. hedman has provided false testimony today when you are saying one thing and she is saying another? >> the bottom line is she did nothing immediately to get flynn's children out of harm's way. she has an obligation. she is the top policeman in the region and by remaining quiet and silent about what was happening, she was acquiescent. she was allowing mr. walling to believe that mr. del toro was a rogue employee that did not speak for the agency. mr. walling was quoted in the paper on that. at no point did ms. hedman tell mr. walling that mr. del toro did his job in the memo was accurate. >> the question to you when she said she acted immediately, whether or not that was really taking place, ranking member stated that in essence, he smells a rat in region five.
was the situation at flint the first time that you heard of problems in the way that region five was being handled under the leadership of ms. hedman? >> the first time i heard of problems was when mr. del toro was thinking about how to reveal the problem. mr. del toro was afraid that he would be attenuated against but he nonetheless had the moral obligation to protect flints children and so in that type of environment, what is an employee to do? he took the best course of action that he could to get this memo out both in epa and in the hands of ms. walters and myself, a press story was written about the memo and even then, ms. hedman covered this up. >> so you firmly believe there was a cover-up.
>> nothing was done to protect flints children. >> okay. >> until we got involved, until we we started sampling and i invested $20,200,000 this team of virginia tech donated their effort, they would never have installed erosion control. >> so it would still be taking place. >> i believe so. there would have been no record that they were forced to meet federal law in flint. >> okay, mr. chairman i see my time has expired. thank you. >> think the gentleman. we now recognize the gel and from illinois, ms. kelly for five minutes. >> thank you, i want to thank the chairman and the ranking member for working together to bring those responsible for the crisis here. i want to thank mr. edwards for coming back before this committee again. the crisis in flint is an inexcusable failure at various levels of government. we also have an obligation to
learn that we can prevent further tragedy. the water crisis is causing local music municipalities and cities to take a look at their water supply. every day i hear from constituents who want to know if their towns water is safe. i have pregnant mothers who have called me from fort heights and fathers in pembrook township who want to know that their local governments aren't mismanaging their water supply given the grave public health and safety dangers that can arise. what would you recommend to municipalities using lead pipes were now concerned about their own water supplies and mark. >> i applaud an action the epa took a few weeks ago to finally close some of the loopholes in sampling that allow lead in water to be low when you collect samples and high when people drink the waters. these practices are occurring all over the country and we been complaining about them. we been shouting about them for ten years and it took something like flint before epa office of
drinking water and groundwater released a memo that will better meet the intent of the testing. >> anything else you would recommend? >> all i have ever wanted is the original intent of the lead and copper rule to be met. >> and what about state governments? what more the can they do? >> the state governments have been operating in this climate that epa created in which cheating was condoned and the agency exploited everyone of of those loopholes to hide the high lead in the water to the point where they would not have to install erosion control. it's absolutely clear in the record they were passing the lead and copper rule using these loopholes and they were using that as an excuse to not install corrosion control, and in fact, there is an e-mail where mr. del toro asked them to stop
pre-cleaning the pipes the night before sampling. this is something we've been screaming about to stop because it causes lead poisoning of children in d.c. in 2006 through 2008. they said well it's not the law and were not going to do that until epa makes at the law. so that was very clear in the emails that they were going to use every single loophole, every trick epa allowed to hide to this lead in the water problem. >> finally, what can we do as a congress and as a committee to ensure that governments of all levels are doing all they can to perform basic functioning of providing every american with safe ranking water? >> i think the most important thing is to create a climate in which the thousands and thousands of great employees at the epa, all across the country can do their job.
employees like mr. del toro need to be allowed to do their job without fear of being retaliated against either directly or indirectly. >> thank you. ms. hedman, you were the region five administrator for the epa and prior to that you worked as an environmental attorney in the illinois attorney general. you agree with his assessment?
and with her that i will yield of the remainder of my time to the ranking member. >> i want to say to the gentle lady that i agree with you we have to continuously follow up on the situation because the things i don't want, every time i think about flint i think about katrina so after all the cameras are gone. the question is where are the people left, where are the children left and then we talk about children but also concerned about the adults. i'm sure they are looking forward to that so we can stay on top of that. >> i appreciate the questions and she has my commitment that we will continue to follow up. i will now recognize the gentle man for five minutes. >> sure. just a few questions.
from the university of wisconsin law school, congratulations. i used to work for police and madigan and asked why you apply for the job and let you know the job is available into that sort of thing. >> i didn't apply for the job in fact i wrote a number of recommendations for other people to take the job and when i was first approached, my answer was no. i was persuaded to take the job and i will tell you one of the reasons i was hesitant is i recognized the huge problems the pa has to deal with in the period of declining budgets and infrastructure budgets and it seemed a huge task to take on.
>> who approached you about the job? you said you didn't want the job that people approach. >> i received a call from the epa administrator. >> secretary jackson? >> yes, administrator jackson. >> mr. edwards, you are familiar with the background? >> we can come back to you. we will be right back. we will come back to you if you like. here he comes. he's back to. >> i will do one more question. why specifically or what was your background that caused the secretary to be called-the java?
>> i understand i had been recommended by a number of people to her. i have as you pointed out a wall degree and a phd in environmental studies and i spent my entire life working to protect public health and the environment often representing citizen groups like the good people in flint. >> mr. edwards, we just asked a question are you familiar on the background or can you comment on what you feel are the qualifications for running district number five? >> i don't do know anything about her background. >> okay. so in other words, okay, back to, so you were hired for the epa. other people may have recommended you. can you give me examples of people that you said brought
this up would cause you to be a good district to you know who those people were? >> some people in the environmental groups recommended me for the job. >> okay. what you like me to yield the remainder of the time? >> we will come back. the gentleman from michigan for five minutes. >> i want to thank the ranking member and the chairman for calling this hearing. i am a child of michigan and have dedicated 25 years of my life to public service and this issue has created anxiety,
sadness, frustration and right now i have knocked in my stomach because as my colleagues said, colleague said, we are pointing fingers at each other where this is the point where each of you should stand up and accept responsibility. i want to ask a few questions, mr. edwards, because we need to fix this problem and i share the frustration and passion about the epa, collectively, because everyone is talking about this as a partisan issue. we work together. first of all, we are here today because we worked together, the republican chair and the ranking member democrat agree this is something worthy of a hearing. in the epa should have as we have now passed the law that doesn't give them an option.
it was a loophole and you agreed to that. let's talk about the privacy issue. so, the michigan department of environmental quality has primacy, and that means they have the responsibility for the water out of public water system and something that was interesting to me, they didn't provide corrosion control. why not? >> for the life of me i can't figure this out. it is such a specialized skill that's why we have a law that says thou shall have corrosion control. we have people at the state to make sure that law is followed. so for the life of me, i don't understand why it wasn't followed because every dollar you spend on corrosion control not only protects children from lead but exceeds $10 million in damage to the piping infrastructure and it would have
saved $10,000. >> you are an appointee of the state, the michigan environmental department is a state. can you tell me why can have you been advised or told why the michigan department of environmental the quality didn't provide a version control, was it financial was it we forgot because there is documentation that the epa although they didn't tell the public beta demo where you and your in your capacity as an appointee of the state has anyone made you aware of why they didn't provide a corrosion? >> that hasn't been brought to my attention. the issue of the corrosion control in all of it came after i was there. as i tried to say earlier the issues we were dealing with were related to the tt hn and other contaminants. >> and that is a good point
because very clearly they do not have that in there so there should have been some chemical added to the water. it sounds as if they went to the river and just turned on the faucet. so why did not they provide a minimum bacteria control? >> i can't answer the reason why. >> did anyone while you were there ask that question why did they not treat the water in flint? >> the questions questions we've are asking is how to deal with the contaminants we knew were in the water. the e. coli and the -- >> and no one asked why he would turn water on, make it go through the faucets for human beings to drink in your experts you have a water treatment system that no one treated the water cracks
>> the water was treated at the corrosion controls were not there or productive discussion -- >> first we have bacteria in the water coming you do not have bacteria water treated so we are talking about the corrosion control but under your leadership that was contaminated water and no one asked a question so how do we know how to fix it if no one asks why what we in 2016 with you being in charge and you signed the contract regardless of who initiated it and people in flint including yourself knew that the water had bacteria in it which is unacceptable. at no time did we ask why did this have happen? >> of course we asked like. >> and what was the answer? >> we were told of the protocols in which to treat the contaminants we were working with, the tt hn and e. coli and the color form treatment.
the issue of the lead treatment and corrosion -- >> i'm talking about when you were there. >> when i was barely treated for the contaminants that were in the water. we followed the protocols for boiling water advisory and two separate occasions when we still have problems in the had problems in the water and still -- >> don't boil water return on the fossett and drink it and trust the government to provide us with water that's safe. if i were responsible for the public trust, that would have been my number one answer to make sure we didn't have to keep wailing the water. why did it happen? >> when it happened the second time i saw -- >> the second time? >> we were told after we had done the things we did before we were given an all clear for the water and that the treatment and the precautionary measures have worked. >> i served as the mayor of a local community and this is my problem with the emergency mandate at any time did you hold
a public meeting with the citizens to find out what their concerns were or did you hold public input meetings? >> there were meetings held after the issue of the contamination when i left in january there were meetings held after that. >> that while you are were there you didn't engage the public? you didn't engage the public? >> they did engage the public as they came in and they were a part of trying to find solutions for the problems we are dealing with. >> this is a fundamental problem with emergency management philosophy is that you report to a bottom line to the governor and got the voice of the people are eliminated in this process. >> i know i'm over but may i ask one more question? i want to ask this question when it comes to primacy i'm infuriated that someone made a
deliberate decision not to treat this water when the primacy are the responsibility of drinking water rests with the state. yes, we should hold epa accountable and we passed the law now on both sides that this must come at the epa must notify the public and stop the water. but before that, how do we get our arms around as a congressional body that no state will take the arrogance and the distracted i feel criminal activity took place in people. how do we get their? >> i would like to know that myself on how the decision was made to not follow the law. did they forget, were they trying to save money? i have no idea. >> he said he was sitting there and you don't know the answer.
can you give me an answer? >> i don't have an answer because the initial treatment design didn't include the carbon filter that later had to be added that meant there was additional chlorine in the problem. so there was no corrosion control, there was no carbon filter. all these warning signs that were going on all go back to the original treatment design dot the emergency manager put in place and budgeted for in june of 2013, and we are still waiting on answers as to how those decisions got made and what the considerations were. >> i will heal back my time. this is where we need to go because we cannot have this happen again. >> i now recognize the gentleman from alabama for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. doctor edwards come in an, in an e-mail recently release dated september 11, 2015, the michigan
program doctor states the following just to clarify on the call i wanted to remind you that the report if the voters the buddhist nature or whoever might say that you were all copied and you can truthfully respond that it was the request the report must be sent. consequentially, you all never received a report. the program director was referring to the nano memo that had been recently addressed .gov domain names and it appears to function the employees on a way to circle the public and the legislative accountability. it also portrays collaboration to manage and spend in a situation.
when you see an e-mail like this, what does it tell you about the government prioritizing over protecting the public interest? >> is very clear that they were working hand in hand to cover the problem as reflected by the e-mail with jennifer and this revisionist history where they were fighting every step of the way is just ludicrous. >> and what does it say about the continued disregard for the warnings? >> i don't do how you could with regards to those warnings as they did. they just sat there silent. >> there has to be a reason why they didn't want the warnings to get out there, why they wanted to apparently give cover. >> they provided all kinds of cover in every step of the way,
every step of the way the epa was there covering it up. >> do you believe that it provides cover in a memo like that but it was intended to? >> they took her advice and a letter responding. they basically cited the excuse for bait him. >> do you beat me this e-mail shows at a minimum a callous disregard for public safety? >> among a few employees that the vast majority of employees at the region come to work every day and do their best to do their job under difficult circumstances. >> thank you for that clarification because i agree with you that most come in i think this is true across the board with federal employees become to work to do the job. it's that handful that don't create problems like this and that cause incredible suffering for the public.
i should refer to you as doctor hedlund following on the questions regarding outstanding requests, the e-mail i read shows that the pa michigan program epa michigan program director your former colleague e-mailing other employees to their official counts to provide cover from the legislature or whoever who might theoretically ask about their exposure of the memo. is it worth noting -- is worth noting the it is worth noting the program director sent this from her personal account to their official e-mail. the epa has a history of using such methods for transparency for instance gina mccarthy has been called before this committee or the science kennedy for example because of using her personal e-mail for government business. this being a whiny read today red today appears to be evidence of a deliberate intention of
misleading going to the fact debate that québec to the fact employees to the best they can i. think that this indicates there is a cultural secrecy and their lack of transparency that starts at the top. how would you respond to that? >> by saying they have a policy of not using personal e-mail and if there is an instance where it is necessary to copy one's government account. >> she did that six weeks later. i have a copy of the law regarding federal records that requires or that indicates, mr. chairman, that she didn't copy this in a timely manner. this is not about finger-pointing and that's what troubles me about this hearing it's not about politics, it's about these people that suffered injury because the failure of government and i just want to
say i delete every member of the committee has a responsibility to get to the truth and make sure the government fulfills its responsibility to the public and in this case to protect the public. we want the truth. i've gotten to know a lot of members on this committee and i can assure you we can handle the truth, the whole truth. i am not at all confident that we have heard the whole truth today. the gentleman will recognize the gentleman from new jersey for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman and to you and the ranking member for holding this hearing. this is indeed a sad day and a little confusing how we get to the bottom of something when everyone is pointing their finger in other directions with the exception of the mayor and mr. edwards. mr. edwards i want to ask a question that has nothing to do with flint. my state is experiencing a
knowledge of high lead content particularly in 11 cities that right now concentrating on one city. do you know if they are monitoring or they are already getting involved in that situation at this early stage so that we do not have a flint michigan situation? >> they are probably not although they did send the memo out that basically said thou shalt stop cheating on the monitoring and it took too long to get to that point but that memo has gone out. it's not going to help you in the short term because it will take six months before the rules were changed. >> mr. chairman and ranking member cummings, this issue is broader than we are experiencing in this very sad situation, and i would look forward to having oversight committee hearings on the epa rule in this whole issue across the united states because i think it will be very revealing and very scary to see
what is happening in our small, older, poorer communities, so i make a request for your consideration. where is mr. d-delta? >> physically right now? >> working, what is he located? >> he works out of the region five office and i know that recently he spent a great deal of time in flint said he may very well be there working right now. >> let me ask you this question. for 50 years, flint michigan was receiving water from the detroit system; is that correct so for 50 years the water treatment system was dormant is that fair? was there any requirement that before you reactivate the system
that you do certain precautionary testing and preparation? >> i know there are requirements but i can't speak to the specifics. doctor edwards, can you answer that question? >> the wall requires when you switch to a new water source that you do studies in advance of the switch to make sure that you have defective corrosion control in place and in the absence of doing a study the simplest thing for minimum that would have been allowed us to continue the corrosion control that was used in the trade water it had been done for 50 years under detroit and the vast majority including the legion
wouldn't have occurred. >> gives give me a time frame because i'm confused. should that have happened in april of 2014? >> this should have been done months before the switch. >> this was in april of 2014? >> yes. >> and who was the emergency manager in the period of time? >> in april of 2014 i was the emergency zero hi was the emergency manager. >> so then why didn't you ensure that before the switch was going to take place that all of the safety and security measures were in place? >> i did. we had been monitoring the switch again as i said process
started. >> who assured you. the director of the water treatment supply. they were working to make sure that we were meeting all of the requirements. >> but now we have introduced another level to the local sanitation department with the water department manager. so now it's his responsibility to ensure. he is the one that informed you that the measures were in place. he misrepresented?
>> did he tell you the truth? >> we know that it was somewhat misinformed. >> the information that we got governs the switch from the detroit water and sewer department. we rely on the information we receive from the state regulatory agencies. >> i can't believe my five minutes is up so quickly because god knows we haven't gotten to the bottom of this yet. but thank you mr. chairman and i yield back. the gentleman from georgia for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. i am correct when i say that epa has the authority to intervene when there is contamination in drinking water that poses a threat is that correct? >> when there is a threat to
humans, epa has the authority to intervene. >> and the state has failed to take action. >> come on. the epa has a responsibility to the citizens. you have to intervene, not when the state doesn't do it. when you see it happens you have to do a thing. i will ask the questions. you are aware of the memo that came in june of 2015, right? in june of 2015, the title was regulation manager groundwater and drinking water branch, he's a drinking water specialist. in fact he was one of the key members of the safe water drinking team and i bbq said she's one of the top experts in the field. yet when he he reported the high levels of lead in the drinking
water not only did you silenced him that you sat around either lee and did nothing. why would you do that? if he is an expert as you acknowledged why didn't you listen to him? >> i did and i didn't sit silently. >> i beg to differ. instead of heeding the warning of one of your top experts from all of us here depend on people, we depend on staff but if we don't listen to them they do us no good whatsoever. you surround yourself with good people as you did. you've got to listen to them but you didn't do that. so you sell a legal opinion is that correct? >> immediately in in june i offered technical assistance to the mayor, that was july 1.
on july 10, we issued our first statement urging the residents to get their water tested and to take precautions to limit -- >> here you have an expert telling you we have a problem. instead of protecting the citizens like the epa is about, the environmental protection agency protecting the public and instead of saying we have an expert here, but my team members who is an expert in the field says we have lead in the water, stop drinking it right now that but you did that. you saw a legal opinion because the fall of the wall? >> let's be clear. the data reported in the memo was related to one resident, first of all. my first question about that is had online been removed, it was
coming and the follow-up testing showed that it was safe to drink and then to neighboring houses, one of which did show high levels and one of which did not. that's been by itself indicated something about the tap water in those three residences and ultimately the final version of the memo concluded that the residents with very high levels had higher levels not due to the lack of control to the physical service of the line. >> because if the fiscal disturbance and construction on the street. >> the memo also made the point that corrosion control haven't been implemented in flint. that was the point that others -- >> i'm sorry. doctor edwards, what do you make of this?
>> i wonder if she has read the memo to this day because there are three reports the city collected high lead in drinking water 10300, 700 parts per billion. before there was a disturbance. and moreover, her statement that she wore and warned the residents to start watching the water, no resident has a warning that it was unsafe to drink, but they got him going on tv saying that the water is safe to drink. that was the message that was sent.
that it's not just this problem, many other cities are suffering from toxic water. these entities into the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> the author says the drinking water act of 1986 to are the epa to set the standards for the concentration of lead and public pipes with a push for leadfree. stir in the country of on the road to replacing old water pipes with plastic pipes is an eco-friendly alternative. however, the need for municipalities turn to anti-corrosive agents were cheaper and more temporary solution. and if that would've happened, none of us would be here today. >> that is correct? none of that would've happened, correct? >> that is true although that if there were let in pictures it would be a concern. >> i understand. thank you. now let's talk about flint.
sir, earlier i read your testimony. i heard it today as well. you essentially say that everything was fine and everybody told you it was fine and you had regular meetings with water treatment officials and so did you know that the water treatment plant operator wrote an e-mail saying that i had people making plans to distribute this a sap. if it is distributed it will be against my direction. so it was not fine for him, were you aware of that max. >> i was made aware of the e-mails when i said before the governor task force. the first time that i had seen that e-mail i'm not sure what he is the link to when he talks about people above him because
there were at least two other individuals. possibly before that to me. so even though he regularly met with water treatment plant officials, who have no idea that there operator had said that i am not ready [talking over each other] >> they also testified that this is a water treatment issue and i suggest that this was a a leadership issue, this is hardly a dirty little you had regular meetings that it was making these statements that he was not ready to talk about. so i'm curious. and i commend you for apologizing which the kurds. i don't see anything in your testimony. are you ready to say that you
are sorry? >> what i have said and will they again is that it happened on my watch. and i feel very badly about that. and i'm very sorry that the people have had to go through it. he ended tears me up inside. i'm very regretful for what has been talked about. >> the corrosive agents, why did it take so long at the end of june that that was not happening? >> i think that from the review of the e-mails that i have seen during that timeframe, that the first reaction is that it they will do it. >> when will the agent actually put it in? >> december 9 this began. >> april and may and june. children were drinking lead
contaminated water. why july or august you didn't just go scream to stop this. stop, give them bottled water. why did it take so long to to me this is negligence bordering on deliberate indifference. the epa knew in april and in june you are notified and many were given a report that died there is lots of lead in this drinking water. and then nothing was done until december. there is no excuse for that. someone should have yelled and screamed and said stop this, people are being poisoned, it should've been done at least lie or august, maybe september. at least by october it was so wrong. a crime of epic proportions that could've been prevented and i yield back. >> we now recognize the gentleman from south carolina for five minutes.
>> i think the chairman and the committee. i guess i will try to start it simply as i know how. i think at the end of mr. carter's testimony i will go ahead and ask it. did you one flint residents to flush their water? >> on july 10, 10 days after i first learned about this, the epa issued the first statement advising residents to get their water tested by their water utility and referring them to the epa information on the web about limiting exposure to lead in drinking water. >> so is that your testimony when you said that you gave them warning to flush their water? >> i was the first time we did that. >> that was in july. >> july the 10th. >> i'm looking at an e-mail
dated september 22, 2015. i asked to be added to the record. >> without objection. >> are you familiar with this? >> i'm not sure what e-mail is. >> it begins to names. january 20. excuse me, september 22, 2015, it begins this is no surprise. no treatment equals lead poisoning children. are you familiar with that e-mail? >> only hearing it from you. >> by the way, i think this is an e-mail that you sent that has been forwarded. it says even worse other than they are in full compliance. other folks took the risk. so do you get the impression that mr. el toro thinks that the epa warned the folks in flint in
september to flush their water? >> we had been told on august 31 that the old acronym for health and human services was implementing a public information campaign. on september 15 i held calls with the mayor and also with the director urging expedited implementation of corrosion control and ask random public information campaigns. and the mayor and the county did issue a health advisory with that kind of information 10 days later. >> i wish that i i could go into every one of us. i know that doctor edwards is probably eager to do that. but he said something earlier today which i think took a lot of us off guard and surprise many people when he said he didn't think of epa that the epa had done anything wrong throughout the entire process. my guess is that if i ask you for evidence of value would've laid out what he just laid out.
and when ask you this. is that the standard to which you held yourself at the epa? does not do anything wrong and that what was the standard to which you held yourself. >> to do the best job possible. >> did you do the best job possible? >> in retrospect i wish we had issued more frequent and more urgent statements. >> it is to your belief in your testimony that you didn't do anything, that you didn't do anything wrong and handling the situation? >> as i said, i wish we had done more. i wish when they represented fatso is that we have verified them. >> let me ask her about you about that. there's another thing that commie off guard but says the epa and answers to questions, the epa is supposed to step in to protect safety but only if there is a threat, which clearly
there was, and the state has failed to act. is it your testimony then that the state had not failed to act? >> at which point in time? >> at any point and time. pick one. i don't care. september, had the state failed to act by that time? >> by that time they had directed flint to implement corrosion control and the mayor had announced that he was doing so. >> had the state failed to act? >> the state has taken some actions. that's not the standard. the of the epa isn't really supposed to get involved unless there is a red and they've had yelled at serious i'm asking you, as of september have the state l-2 at? we were in. and the legal device that i received at that time. >> if you are involved, how are people still drinking the lead contaminated water?
>> there are two things that we tried everyday to make happen. the first is an implementation of corrosion control and second is a public information campaign to make sure that the flint residents knew what they needed to do to reduce risks until corrosion control the place. >> you said something, sir, earlier. you said in a different environment this would be criminal. what did you mean when you said that to you did use the words criminal. >> i think in any environment it's criminal and you know that children are being harmed and not being protected by the law and you sit there silently. >> i will point out that virginia tech issued the first warning to not drink the water in august 2015. in its response to the press to our warning about the dangers of the water, saying that the water
was safe to drink. the epa sat there silent as the state attacked us for saying that the front water was not safe to drink. >> as i had done this is a terrorist of the children of flint, what i have been caught and sent to jail? >> i have already said that if a landlord to this he would be in jail. >> if i built a house that poison my resident, i would be in jail. should the government be held to a standard of citizens? >> everyone should be required to follow the law. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> we now recognize the gentleman for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you ranking member, thank you witnesses for being here.
on february 2, the governor of michigan issued a statement informing the public of your resignation. that was going to be effective on for very 29th. have you seen that press release? >> yes. >> in it it states, and i'm going to quote here that governor snyder and i agree that our goal was to be the last emergency manager appointed. i have completed a comprehensive restructuring necessary to downsizing the central office. that is her quote. >> it is. >> you remember giving the go to the governor for the press release for that? >> yes, i discussed it with his communications people. >> .press release came a day before, less than 24 hours before they had a hearing on february 3. the chairman sent a letter in
january 2 testified that time so when you were talking about the press release the day before the hearing took place did you have a conversation with the governor or those individuals about testifying before this committee? >> now. my conversations regarding the letter that you referred to took place before that, they were only drafted on the first of february because we had done all in the detroit public schools. >> so you discuss with him your resignation on february 2 and what was going to be. but you do that you had a pending request to testify before this committee at that time. is that correct? >> did you know that you had to testify and there is a request on february 3 when you are having discussions with the governor and his staff about your resignation on february 1 or 2nd enact.
>> we had that discussion prior to the second. and the press release came out after. >> in your discussions with the governor about that press release did you discuss with him before this committee? >> is a yes or no answer. >> duda discusses before the committee? >> received the invitation. yes. >> lewis said? >> that i had received an invitation. >> to the governor directed to comply with that enact. >> now. >> you did not at that time? >> clearly you had a discussion with the governor, the governor who has said that he wants transparency and accountability for the individuals that are
working and you work for the pleasure of the governor. he did not direct you to testify when the requests have been made by the house committee on oversight and government reform about this. so when the chairman informed her lawyer that he was considering issuing a subpoena to compel you to testify before the committee on that day, what did you discuss with the governor? >> no, i had that discussion with the attorney because i had this he got some advice as to how to respond to the initial invite because i did not have time to prepare for the hearing and i wanted to come forward and discuss the facts of this. it had nothing to do with my appointment at the detroit public schools. >> your appointment was made by same governor. and you had the ability to discuss with him and you are serving as direction. even though that is ushant had
taken place, you sought out and he said that you did not have time to coordinate your testimony that you had time to coordinate on october 26 your op-ed in which he said do not blame the emergency manager or the front water disaster and outlined reasons why about was the position at that time. >> i did not discuss the subpoena in terms of not coming to this hearing. that was never a discussion that i had. i wanted to understand the process. the invitation was what i said i that i was not prepared to attend. not the subpoena. >> you refuse to tell your attorney to refuse service of this is been a. >> that is important for us to note. >> we have an e-mail that says that you are being told that it was dean issued to you at that
time. are you aware of that? >> i do not recall. >> we had the e-mail. >> and at that time the e-mail exchange with the attorney and the attorney said that they didn't tell you that you are supposed were supposed to be potentially subpoena to testify before this committee? >> i saw the advice of counsel on the issue regarding the invitation. so we didn't have an opportunity to prepare. >> i moved on. i'm not talking about the subpoena. >> did you have a discussion with your attorney about service and acceptance of the subpoena? >> that is an attorney-client issue that i would like to refer to my attorney to answer. >> i'm glad that he is going to give you some advice about that.
that's very good. >> the thing to you even refer to is testifying? >> no, i did not. >> of the governor instructed to cooperate and they encourage you to comply with their requests when it was an invitation? >> no, it was strictly my decision based on my conversation with my count about preparation for a very important hearing that was pretty much the extent of its. [inaudible] >> we went by this earlier in your testimony you said that you let the government know the you had an invitation to testify. did he respond to that particular comment that you made. >> i think that they said it's
your decision. do what you have to do. do what you have to be muskox will. >> do we have the e-mail remapped 2. >> mr. chairman, i know it is unusual that the gentleman from michigan wanted me to yield time. and getting a witness to actually answer a question it was a little bit difficult. would you give us the indulgence of allowing her? >> we need to go through everybody first. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will be happy to provide minutes to my colleague. >> mr. edwards, in your communications on this issue do
you feel that the governor knew what was happening 2. >> i have not seen e-mails that showed that he knew. >> you feel that he should have known? >> i feel that the governor should have listened more to the people of flint and be less trusting? >> should the governor have known, you said that you contacted his office. >> he knew the issues that we had in january 2015 because we had a follow-up phone call. it appears that all of the senior aides were aware of extensive issues with dhs. >> did you communicate with the governor. was the governor aware of this situation in flint?
>> the situation that we are trying to manage when i was there, i had no discussions with the governor regarding lead corrosion. >> that you communicated that there was a water issue in the city? >> yes. >> did you communicate directly with the governor's staff informed him. >> my only communication occurred in the days leading up to the announcement of the plan action plan which i think occurred on october 2. >> thank you, i yield back my time. >> mr. chairman, thank you so much. i'm going to try to dig a little deeper in that context. all we want is good and effective government and it's irrelevant whether that good and effective government at the federal level, state levels,
local level, it should all be working to serve and protect citizens. so i appreciate that you could've been more vigorous. in the context that it is the state primary responsibility we have people drinking unsafe water and i think that people want to know if the failures are typical of other state governments it would cause all of congress to think about the epa and what we do about state accountability and so in your written testimony you mentioned a drinking water crisis that occurred in toledo ohio. was the danger to human health and that crisis? >> yes, it was. it was a microsystem. >> how long did it take the mayor of toledo based on that
message from you to issue a do not drink notice? >> immediately issued a do not drink notice. >> to the ohio epa resists sampling protocol that they were recommending as they did in the case of flint? >> no, they took on board of amply advised and they work very closely with our cincinnati lab. >> in your recent testimony you commend the governor for his handling of that particular crisis and in fact you know that he called upon the national guard immediately. >> so i take it that you believe that there is a serious critical difference between response of governor snyder and the response of governor john kasich. >> just. >> in our investigation, the committee received startling testimony from the former head of the michigan department of
environmental quality and said that the topic of the flint crisis never made it to the agenda of governor snyder's cabinet meetings. not once. in your experience working with ohio did he make toledo's drinking water a priority of his entire administration? >> i can tell you that he not only responded quickly in terms of calling out the national guard, but after the entire scenario had ended i believe that he actually reached out. >> so we can see a stark and dramatic difference between the responsibility of these two states and i think it is the job of this committee to make sure that the federal government and state government and local government have brought all that it can and all that it should and is wired to do to protect citizens. is that correct? to i agree. >> thank you. >> quite rightly, given his testimony, if governor snyder
had reacted to the flint water crisis in the same way in which governor kasich reacted to the toledo water crisis, do you believe that it would have made a significant difference to human health and safety in regards to the drinking water situation in flint, michigan. >> yes, i do. >> thank you. >> i yield back area. >> you have talked about how important it is. >> when did you have the first concern of what is going on in flint, michigan. >> i know from checking my records that i had a conversation with them on september 15. right after -- or right before i had a conversation with the
mayor and i also had a short conversation with him on september 1 as part of a commissioners roundtable. >> little bit ago, his first conversation with you is september 27. can you see a concern that it took that long before you actually talked to the person that is in charge of the department of environmental quality. >> i believe that i also talked with him on the first. >> okay september 1. i'm going to go ahead and give you a little attitude there. i don't believe you because i don't see anything were any reason to trust you. but let's assume that that is true for a second. why did it take so long. >> my staff was reporting.
>> hooted your staff call. >> michigan was reporting that there was going to be a public information campaign and if the michigan staff that said we will not issue the order of the epa as requested than i would've gone directly to the director. >> but they didn't, did they? >> they did on august 17 to this is a fundamental problem with government. we will delegate says. instead of just talking to someone and having a discussion. they have these e-mails here and this one is dated october 1. were he could've supported what they were doing. they are led to believe that they are pretty compliant. but later on when they admit
that the lead and copper rule is ambiguous. but there's not clarity there. they admit it. it's your own internal e-mail. >> can you comment on this? for those that don't know how to read these records, what is your analysis of that? >> i think the epa was embarrassed as to how long it took them to act that became an international embarrassment by that point and then what are they going to do. say they knew there was no confusion from the start? when i read the memos essentially a get out of jail free card for those epa and others. we don't understand our own law is what the memo said. >> are you familiar? we had a hearing in july. about you and your region are you familiar with that?
>> you should've never been in this position. it's so frustrating, this is what happened. 99% of the people, good federal employment art doing the right things and then we get someone who comes along, who spoils us, they are bad apples and they say i will just retire. full benefits, full everything. it is absolutely, fundamentally wrong. >> mr. chairman i do want you to know i appointed a a new assistant regional administrator who has aggressively dealt with
these kinds of situations. i personally recall on a case where we remove someone for sexual harassment, and then another case we saw the inspector general gave us high marks for where we removed an individual who viewed child pornography on a federal computer, he is in federal prison. >> while there are ongoing investigations by the inspector general of the should have been dealt with at a higher level. >> let me go on i need to help mayor for clarification you helped with a special election in 2009 but i honestly in your bio you are the chairman from 2010 to 2015 where you
compensated for being the chairman for the kw a? >> i was not i had to serve as function to be a mayors. >> when you become the mayor you then become the mayor is one of the concerns is are there conflicts of interest because essentially the k wa gets $200 million or so to start building this pipeline, that puts you in a pretty powerful position to direct dollars and locations and knowledge ahead of time. it gives gives you essentially insider information, does it not? >> it is a major responsibility. the chairmanship came to me through an election of the members of that authority. that happens on an annual basis to officers and authority that
our elected. >> are you here to testify, get i want to be clear, i don't want to disparage you are barely in any way, shape or form, but i need to know from you personally here, did you benefit personally in any way, shape, or form from that assignment of that knowledge? >> no, i no, i did not mr. chairman. >> okay. >> mr. edwards, tell me what deq, in your opinion, the michigan department of environmental quality, what did they do right and what did it they do wrong? did they do anything right? >> no. i can honestly, as i sit here i can't think of a single thing they did right. >> did the epa do anything right? >> mr. del toro did everything, every epa employee should aspire to do.
his memo could have made epa the heroes here. in this particular case, even despite the ten years of allowing them to cheat, he realized the danger that put children in. >> what is your personal assessment of what the governor has done or is doing now? >> well, unlike epa the governor has taken responsibility for what occurred, certainly he was guilty of not listening to flint residents, certainly he was guilty of being overly trusting of mdq nepa. but the president says he wants to be part of the solution, he is actively engaged in this and so i am willing to work with anybody who wants to be part of
the solution. i think he is sincere about trying to help link it back on his feet. >> we are about to have a vote called on the floor, if the ranking member -- >> thank you very much. i'm a a little stunned by what you told representative, you said you talk to the governor's office about our request for you to test by february 3, by the way it was a joint request, democrats and republicans. he said they never directed to you, the governor never directed you to cooperate with us the house committee on oversight, they just told you to do whatever you had to do, that right? >> basically was to make my own decision about going. because it was an invitation and i was not prepared to sit before this committee, i declined the invitation. that was the extent of the conversation i had with the governor. but the subpoena that you are
referring to was issued a night before. i could not have gotten here physically to do that. it was never served on me. my announcement that basically i was declining the invitation was to get here and meet with this committee. >> you also said that it did add some discussions did you have discussions with mr. much more. >> yes i know him. >> did you have discussions with them about what was going on in flint in regard to the water? >> not specifically, he was a part part of some of the meetings i had as we briefing on the progress. again, this was all on the contamination issue, prior to the lead leaching issues we now deal with, they were apprised of the progress we were converting
from dws d to the use of the flint river during the interim why the k wa was being completed. we have those discussions. >> did it surprise you and mr. toles that i was never bought up in the cabinet meeting. >> i was a surprise. >> when you say that? >> this is a major thing, i was not a part of the governor's -- i did not know what was being discussed in those meetings, i can only take that as a comment from a former employee. >> mr. walling, do you have other discussions with mr. much more?
>> i did on a few occasions. a phone call. >> was he aware of what was going on? in flint with regard with regard to the water? >> yes. >> and so was appear to say that you have our conversations with him then you would've had with the governor? >> yes, i did. i would call the chief of staff and also one of his direct reports, harvey hollins who is the urban initiative director was in regular communication with us, even as even as elected officials during the emergency management. >> one of the things we concluded is the governor probably did not do a lot of communicating and writing with regard to this event. and this whole water thing. what we were trying to do -- therefore in order for us to get the information we needed we need to talk to the 15 people including mr. much more and the other gentleman you mentioned. again they refused to talk to us, hopefully they will have a change of heart, i yelled back. >> thank you, we recognize --
>> thank you mr. chairman. i just was concerned about this e-mail. i have the redacted version for you and for your attorney, if if you'd like at some point to have a look at this and you may want to make an amendment to your testimony after such a review, we can, the chairman's staff can make it available for both of you. >> we will allow 72 hours for such clarification. >> thank you. >> thank you. we have a vote vote on the floor, i want to thank the for for of you for your time, this is is very illuminating. our hearts prayers, thoughts go to the people who actually live in flint, who are affected by this and will continue to be affected by this. we look forward look forward to the part three of our hearing with governor's night or, that will take place in this room on
[inaudible] >> but given the fact that no one trusts, the state or federal government at this point, we have to wait until a legitimate sample before we can say that to the public. we do not want to further contribute to a loss of trust. it is been surprisingly difficult to get this legitimate round done because they never identify the homes with the lead pipe in the first place. hopefully in the next six or seven weeks there be a monitoring rounded at that point you will have the evidence to show that plant water is either or it is, or does not say. if the lettuce too high you can live with that and use bottled water. no one wants to give false
public reassurances. this probably going to be six or eight weeks before anyone is thinking of saying anything. >> would have the most credibility at this point? >> i think the the residents themselves. for example the sampling we are coordinating with them, so we are going house by house showing how much better the water is, but we also need the state is conducting -- ep is not going to let anything get by at this point. i'm very confident the people of epa region five on the ground, i was at flint this week, these people are killing themselves to do the right thing to help flint get back on the feet. every one of those. >> thank you so much.
[inaudible] [inaudible] >> it was a tough hearing, the representative asked all of the right questions, they're getting everybody on record, on oath and the truth is coming out about who made what decisions and what more needed to be done at the federal and state level and even at the city of flint. >> it seems like you and darnell were on different sides of the issue, what's what's your take on darnell trying to point their finger at the local jurisdiction. >> it is wrong appalls that the city of flint, city council and myself voted to go to the flint river is a midterm source. you cannot say something is inherent or implicit, what happens in government is u-boat on a resolution. you have an actual budget in front of you when you do that. none of that was presented to us in march 2013, it was us
decision to support going to k wa is a long-term source with the budget projection going the city would continue to pay detroit, it's plain and simple. i was in flint when it happened, his depiction is false. [inaudible] >> the city council is not involved for nearly four years. the fm kurtz, came to both myself .. 's water. it is important to me that i hear from you about the direction you want us to go. the city council met on two occasions, i provided my provided my support, written resolution to go to kw a in this discussion about the flint river came up months later as an effort to save money, cut costs
with the city and it was not done right at the beginning as we now know. >> you have any regrets? >> i regret that we do not two more early on to not only double check with the epa but also triple check. we we needed doctor mark edwards and other independent experts at the table in 2013 and 2014. they came in 2015 and help get to the bottom of what happened. that independent expertise needed to be in place from the beginning, that is a lesson i am taking away from all of this, you have to have independent expertise with decisions of this magnitude. it was not there, it was not invited to the table by the emergency manners and our community ended up greatly suffering because of those decisions. >> you mentioned that you did go
[inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> is for as i know there is still home but i haven't seen him for a while. >> they have been amazing, every step of the way. i've amazing wife and kids. >> thank you for what you're doing here. >> quickly i know you're focused on the drinking water -- [inaudible] i know this is not your focus,. >> it's a