Carlos Osorio / AP
Updated at 9:28 p.m. ET.
Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged Wednesday for his role in the Flint water crisis, an environmental disaster that contaminated most of Black’s drinking water with lead nearly seven years ago.
Snyder is facing two offenses of deliberate neglect, and if convicted, he could face up to a year in prison and up to $ 1,000 in fines.
Other former members of his administration are also expected to face the allegations, according to the Associated Press.
Earlier this week, when reports began to emerge that the bill had been filed, Snyder’s lawyers called them the “best-of-life” bill. “Politically motivated smear campaign,” reported the Detroit Free Press.
Snyder, a Republican, was chief executive of Michigan when state-appointed officials decided to convert the city’s drinking water supply from Detroit’s water system to Flint River in 2014.
It was due to the decision that the bill was a way to save money and should be a temporary fix as officials built a pipeline to nearby Lake Huron. It turned out to be a cost of both a life lost and in a settlement worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Waiting for settlement for the victim
Last year, Nessel announced a $ 600 million settlement for the Flint family affected by the water crisis last year.
The deal “puts the needs of children first,” she said during an announcement in August.
Young people are especially at risk of facing long-term cognitive challenges and other health problems from exposure to lead contaminants in water.
As NPR’s Bill Chappell reported at the time, the deal said nearly 80% of the money was allocated to resolve claims filed on behalf of children and minors.
The remainder of the settlement is expected to be split among other Flint residents who have fallen ill from contaminated water or damaged their property, Michigan Public Radio reported.
But a U.S. District Court judge is expected to rule soon on whether to grant preliminary approval, the MPR reported.
At least 12 died and more than 80 were sick.
Adding stations, not everyone is happy with the settlement. This included Pastor John McClain, who identified the proposed settlement as “irreverent” because he said there were too many barriers for residents to access money and not enough to cover their needs. Damaged
“We believe the proposed deal, as currently allocated, is as impolite as the injury caused by the water crisis,” McClain told MPR.
At least a dozen people have died and more than 80 suffer from Legionnair after water from the Flint River has poisoned the city’s water system with lead from old pipes.
Soon after the switch, residents began complaining that the new water in their homes smelled bad, different flavors and discolored, according to a MLive report in May 2014, one month after the water was changed.
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials told Flint City officials they were not required to take any corrosion control measures to treat river water, at least not at first, Michigan Public Radio reported in December 2016.
“The wait-and-see approach is a terrible idea,” experts told MPR, as there is no treatment needed. “The protective coatings on the inside of pipes that have been built over the years from Detroit’s water are likely to disappear and that’s why. The level led to a sharp increase in many homes in Flint. ”
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Snyder, who retired for two years, apologized for his role in the environmental collapse during his 2016 statehouse.
“Your family is faced with a crisis that you have not caused and cannot prevent,” Snyder said. “I want to be honest and honest to let you know that we are praying for you, we are working hard for you and we are committed to taking the right steps to resolve the crisis. This effectively is for you residents of Flint. I say … I’m sorry and I will fix it. “
More than a dozen government and city officials have been indicted for their role in the crisis. Many of them accepted a pact to avoid jail.
In June of 2019, Nessel announced that state prosecutors had lifted all criminal charges against a group of eight state officials and moved to a more broader investigation.
“I want to warn the people of Flint that delayed justice is not always rejected justice, and that the courageous and dedicated team of prosecutors and professional investigators work hard to make sure those who hurt you are not always rejected.” Be responsible, ”Nessel said in a statement at the time.
Dylan Scott of NPR contributed to this report.