WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today sent two separate letters to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy and Keith Creagh, Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), demanding further information regarding the urgent drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The letters follow up on two bipartisan briefings that committee staff had with EPA’s Office of Water and come on the heels of EPA’s increased direct involvement following its January 21 administrative order.
The letter to EPA contains nine questions to obtain information to understand and evaluate current efforts to respond to and resolve the situation, and to identify critical factors that contributed to the crisis. The letter to MDEQ contains a similar series of eight questions requesting further information on the state’s role in the crisis and their response.
Among the questions posed to EPA are the following:
- Describe the current and anticipated specific roles and responsibilities for federal, state, and city authorities in responding to the Flint water emergency. Please include in this response the identification of the lead EPA officials, and their offices and other federal agency officials and their offices working with EPA on the response and providing technical assistance.
- Provide an estimate of the timing for corrosion control to provide sufficient coatings on service lines to reduce lead in the drinking water to safe levels, as well as any reasonably anticipated factors that could affect this timeline and the effectiveness of this approach.
- Has the EPA reduced or ceased to perform compliance verification activities, such as sampling or audits, under the Safe Drinking Water Act? In the wake of the drinking water crisis in Flint, does EPA intend to restore any reductions in compliance verification of public drinking water systems? To the extent budgetary limitations have affected EPA’s enforcement capabilities, what resources are necessary for EPA to fully implement Safe Drinking Water Act compliance verification activities?
Among the questions posed to MDEQ are the following:
- EPA’s January 21, 2016, Emergency Order details several required actions by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the City of Flint. Has MDEQ or Flint’s Public Water System provided the information requested by the EPA Flint Task Force in November to the EPA? If not, when does MDEQ anticipate providing a response to this request as required in paragraph 52 of EPA’s January 21, 2016, order?
- Please provide copies of all briefing materials prepared by MDEQ personnel for federal, state, and local officials from January 2013 through February 2016 relating to the Flint drinking water system, including the decision to use the Flint River as a drinking water source.
- If EPA performed a compliance audit of Flint, Michigan’s drinking water system under the Safe Drinking Water Act:
- When did such a compliance audit last occur?
- What actions, if any, did MDEQ undertake in response to EPA’s review?
To read the letter to EPA, click here.
To read the letter to MDEQ, click here.