Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed a task force to review Flint’s water contamination crisis.
The task force is made up of medical professionals, environmental experts, and a former Republican state lawmaker.
“Bringing in outside experts to evaluate our actions and help monitor and advise on potential changes to law, procedures and practices will be key to continuing work on the comprehensive action plan and ensuring safe drinking water for all the residents in Flint and all of Michigan,” Snyder said in a statement.
The governor has asked the panel to recommend guidelines meant to prevent a similar situation from occurring again in Flint or elsewhere in Michigan.
“Potentially, this could affect other cities as well with these types of problems,” said Dave Murray, a spokesperson for Gov. Snyder. “So you want to do your best, you want to be better prepared and learn what we can do to help other cities should they be in a situation like this.”
But Flint’s state senator is skeptical about the investigation.
“I’m concerned that the group he’s going to put together is only going to look forward,” said state Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Jim Ananich (D-Flint).
“The confidence in my community, the confidence in the rest of the state, and the integrity in the investigation requires a thorough look-back. And I’m getting concerned that that may not be the objective of what the governor is putting together.”
Many have criticized state officials for not acting until residents had already been exposed to dangerous levels of lead.
Ananich and Congressman Dan Kildee of Flint on Wednesday called for a federal investigation into the state’s role in the crisis. They want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct that probe.
Snyder’s office insists the task force will look at all decisions leading up to the crisis.
Former state Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema – now of Public Sector Consultants – will co-chair the task force with and Chris Kolb of the Michigan Environmental Council. Also serving on the panel will be Dr. Matthew Davis of the University of Michigan Health System, Eric Rothstein of the Galardi Rothstein Group, and Dr. Lawrence Reynolds of Mott Children’s Health Center in Flint.