Flint Bottled Water Delivery Would Be `Herculean Effort:' State

By Stephen Joyce

Nov. 22 — A federal court order directing Michigan to deliver bottled water to Flint residents would require a “herculean effort” on the “magnitude of a large-scale military operation,” a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder (R) said in appealing the directive ( Concerned Pastors for Social Action v. Khouri , E.D. Mich., No. 16-cv-10277, appeal filed 11/21/16 ).

The Michigan treasurer, Flint Receivership Transition Advisory Board members appointed by Snyder , and the Flint city administrator appealed Nov. 21 a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan order issued Nov. 10 requiring the officials to deliver bottled water to every Flint resident’s door unless the resident refused delivery, possessed a properly functioning state-provided water filter or were exempted from a court-approved delivery scheme recommended by plaintiffs.

Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail the government appealed because “the resources to accomplish this would only be available through the activation of the National Guard or the hiring of several logistics companies with the necessary equipment and personnel to achieve this unprecedented level of effort” while diverting attention from correcting the city’s ongoing lead-contaminated drinking water supply.

The “herculean effort required by the court order would be on the magnitude of a large-scale military operation” and require the city and state to deal with potential public health risks from millions of empty water bottles flooding Flint’s trash and recycling system, she wrote.

U.S. Judge David Lawson set a case management status and scheduling conference for Dec. 6. Lawyers for both sides should prepare “short statements” and be prepared to discuss issues including subject matter jurisdiction, settlement or alternative dispute resolution, discovery developments and estimated trial length, the judge wrote in a Nov. 21 court filing.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Joyce in Chicago at sjoyce@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

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