Another Reason for Information Deficits on Flint Water Crisis

How to deny open records law requests without saying 'no': Demand $172,000

The Detroit News reported that the whistleblower who brought the Flint water crisis to light had earlier sent an email claiming that the city's response to the lead contamination of residents "borders on criminal neglect."

The June 25, 2015, email from U.S. EPA employee Miguel Del Toral email read in part:

"They have had no corrosion control treatment in place for over a year now and they have lead service lines. It’s just basic chemistry on lead solubility. You will have high lead leaching into the water where you are doing nothing to mitigate that.”

“The only reason we don’t have more data is because the city of Flint is flushing away the evidence before measuring for it.”

"At a MINIMUM, the city should be warning residents about the high lead, not hiding it telling them that there is no lead in teh (sic) water. To me that borders on criminal neglect.”

ForTheRecord says: Lots of people are looking for more data on the crisis and the steps the city of Flint took to address it. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy sought answers by sending the city a Freedom of Information Act request on Jan. 28. Specifically, the Mackinac Center asked for emails from a one-year period for about 120 water and utility department employees. The request asked for emails in which the word “lead” appeared.

Whistleblower Del Toral may have described one of the reasons “we don’t have more data” from the city of Flint. Another is the city’s response to the Mackinac Center’s open records request: It demanded a $172,000 payment to see the relevant emails, effectively keeping that information hidden from the public.