Governor Rick Snyder apologized to the residents of Flint, Michigan Tuesday evening for the failure in state, local and federal leadership resulting in a water contamination crisis that has consumed the city for nearly two years.
“To you, the people of Flint, I say tonight as I have before, I am sorry and I will fix it,” Snyder said in his annual state of the state address, calling on state lawmakers to approve $28 million in funds to help replace water faucets in city schools and daycare centers, do diagnostic tests and treat children who may have been exposed to lead and other hazardous chemicals, and study the city’s piping system.
Snyder’s apology came amid calls for his resignation over what critics charge has been a delayed and neglectful response to the city’s water crisis. Flint residents began complaining about the taste, odor, and color of their tap water as well as side effects like rashes and hair loss within a month after the city had switched its drinking water supply from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River in April 2014. But it wasn’t until October of 2015—after reports revealed an increase in lead-in-blood levels among Flint residents and children in particular—that Snyder finally ordered Flint to stop using the river water and return to Detroit’s supply.