A disaster declaration would have made larger amounts of federal funding available more quickly to help Flint residents whose drinking water is contaminated with lead. But under federal law, only natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods are eligible for disaster declarations, federal and state officials said. The lead contamination of Flint's drinking water is a manmade catastrophe. The president's actions authorize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate responses and cover 75% of the costs for much-needed water, filters, filter cartridges and other items for residents, capped initially at $5 million. The president also offered assistance in finding other available federal assistance, a news release Saturday from the White House said.
It's none of your business what Gov. Rick Snyder knew about the Flint water crisis, or when he knew it, as it might be reflected in his emails. Also none of your business: What he may have been saying to his staff in emails about the lead contamination in the city's water, or what his staff may have been saying to other officials in the departments of environmental quality or community health. That's because Michigan law privileges all of that information, shielding it from the Freedom of Information Act.... But Snyder, whose administration is now embroiled in a scandal emanating from the foul-ups that led to water poisoning in Flint and the inexplicably slow response, owes all of us better than what the law calls for. He owes us full transparency, and explication.