Congress grills Michigan officials over Flint water crisis

Michigan Nation Guard Sgt. Steve Kiger, left, of Harrison, Mich., stacks cases of drinking water with Red Cross volunteer Franklin Dickerson of Pleasant Ridge Wednesday Jan 13, 2016 in Flint, Mich. Members of the Michigan National Guard began arriving in Flint on Wednesday for briefings on the drinking water crisis, ahead of a larger contingent of Guardsmen who will help distribute bottled water, filters and other supplies to residents. (Dale G. Young/Detroit News via AP) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – For the first time since a Federal emergency was declared for residents of Flint, Michigan, on Wednesday members of the House of Representatives held a hearing into the water crisis which has plagued the Midwestern city.

“I’m disappointed in the response, at the local level, at the state level, and at the Federal level,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-California) during a hearing in the House Government Reform and Oversight committee. Wednesday’s hearing is the result of confusion and chaos for Flint residents who’ve recently learned their drinking water was contaminated with lead.

“We fought the city, and the state, saying there was something wrong but we were dismissed.” said Leanne Walters, a Flint resident who worked with researchers to test her water for unusual chemicals. Wednesday’s hearing started with an unusual request to the U.S. Marshal’s Service to physically serve subpoenas to some Michigan officials who failed to appear for the hearing.

Flint’s water crisis began in 2014 after state officials switched the city’s water supply from its previous source. The new system was not properly monitored and allowed for lead to soak into the system that delivered water to thousands of Flint residents. The White House has declared a state of emergency as as result of the crisis. A separate FBI criminal investigation remains ongoing.

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