Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
Oct. 25 — Michigan’s congressional Democrats are questioning the constitutionality of a state resolution that essentially bars Flint from suing the state over its response to the city’s drinking water crisis.
And they want the U.S. Justice Department to look into it.
An Oct. 25 letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch claimed the application of a resolution to Michigan’s Public Act 436 of 2012 “raises serious constitutional due process” issues and asked the attorney general to review its constitutionality.
“In terms of federal constitutional concerns, we would in particular ask that you review whether the State’s attempt to foreclose Flint’s legal authority to sue the State for the harms inflicted on the City’s residents implicates the Due Process Clause, Equal Protection Clause, and associated environmental justice concerns,” the letter from the state’s five Democratic members of Congress said.
Whether the letter will have any impact could hinge on the outcome of the Nov. 8 elections and which candidate will get to name the next attorney general. And Kristin Moore, spokeswoman to Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (D), told Bloomberg BNA the mayor has no immediate plans to sue the state. The city filed the paperwork to preserve the city’s right to file a lawsuit “if it is determined a lawsuit is necessary in the future,” Weaver said in March.
Flint is still grappling with problems caused by high lead levels in its drinking water. The city’s water source was switched from the Detroit water system to the Flint River to save money but chemicals were not added to protect residential tap water from lead leached from old service lines. Residents are still drinking bottled water.
The Public Act 436 of 2012 established the Flint Receivership Transition Advisory Board, which serves at the pleasure of the governor and is intended to help Flint transition out of its recent financial difficulties. A March 31 resolution amending the act gave the board authority to “review any potential litigation and labor disputes with the city’s chief legal officer” and that any initiation of litigation or the resolution of any litigation “shall not be effective unless approved by the board.”
Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri April 5 approved the resolution.
The board was established when Flint was controlled by a state-appointed emergency manager, who attempted to assist the city deal with dire financial challenges. Five separate emergency managers served between 2011 and 2015.
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), whose district includes Flint, questioned during an Oct. 25 news conference in Flint both the legality and tenor of the resolution.
“There’s nothing normal about the idea that the state government would use its power not just to take control of the city but then to deny the city the right to contest that control in the court of law. It is outrageous,” he said.
Kildee and Democrats Sander Levin, Debbie Dingell, John Conyers and Brenda Lawrence—five of the state’s 16 members of Congress—signed the letter.
The letter is available at http://src.bna.com/jC5
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)