Michigan’s urban health czar testified Wednesday that he informed Gov. Rick Snyder of Flint’s dangerous lead levels in July 2015, months before Snyder claims to have first learned of it.
Harvey Hollins made the claim in a Wednesday preliminary hearing for Michigan Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyons, who faces involuntary manslaughter charges. Snyder testified before Michigan’s Congress in March 2016 that he didn’t learn of Flint’s lead levels until October 2015, but Hollins testified that he informed the Republican governor of the situation in both July and August of 2015, WXYZ Detroit reported.
Hollins’ also testified that he told Snyder of the city’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreak weeks before the governor claimed to have learned of it in early 2016. Lyons’ manslaughter and misconduct in office charges are directly related to the Legionnaires outbreak, which has been connected to the city’s decision to use the Flint River as a water source, MLive reported.
The disease outbreak killed 12 Flint-area residents and sickened 79 others.
Hollins’ testimony is somewhat mitigated by a May 2016 testimony from Snyder’s former press secretary Ari Adler, who claimed Hollins never reported directly to the governor and that his reports never made it through.
“As I understand it, the reason the issue of lead in the water was not taken directly to the governor is because every time staff in the Governor’s Office raised questions with the Department of Environmental Quality, they were being told the situation either was not as presented or was being taken care of,” Adler said.
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