Federal court lets Flint safe water case proceed

Last week, a federal judge signaled that the first federal safe drinking water case on the Flint water crisis could proceed over protests from the City of Flint and the Michigan state officials.

“We’re elated that the court has rebuffed efforts by state and city officials to skirt their legal and moral duty to provide Flint residents with safe drinking water,” said Michael J. Steinberg, Legal Director of the ACLU of Michigan, which filed the lawsuit earlier this year along with the National Resources Defense Council, Flint activist group Concerned Pastors for Social Action and Flint resident Melissa Mays. “State-appointed emergency managers and other government officials poisoned the people of Flint and there is still no plan to replace the lead pipes. We desperately need this citizens’ lawsuit to force the government to fix this disaster and force the government to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

“Safe drinking water is a right currently being denied to the people of Flint. We are ready to move ahead with our case so we can get lead out of our water and ensure that the children and families of Flint have safe water to drink in the future,” said Pastor Allen Overton of Concerned Pastors for Social Action.

“Unbelievably, Flint tap water is still not safe to drink more than two years after this crisis began. Now that the Court has rejected these first attempts by the City and state officials to dismiss our lawsuit, we’re focused on moving forward as quickly as possible to help secure safe drinking water in Flint,” said Dimple Chaudhary, Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

2016 Flint Safe Drinking Water Case Timeline:

January 27 - Concerned Pastors for Social Action, Flint resident Melissa Mays, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the ACLU of Michigan filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Michigan alleging violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and seeking federal court intervention to secure safe drinking water for the people of Flint.

March 24 - The groups filed a motion for preliminary injunction, asking the court to direct the delivery of bottled water to people’s homes, as many Flint residents cannot obtain water for their daily needs due to transportation or other access issues.

May 13 - Arguments against the motions to dismiss presented to U.S. District Court Judge David M. Lawson

The lawsuit and other documents may be found at www.aclumich.org/article/groups-file-federal-lawsuit-secure-safe-drinking-water-flint