New emails recently released by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, revealed that an aide working directly under Snyder, quietly arranged for the donation of water filters for the city of Flint in the summer of 2015. While at the same time, Snyder publicly doubted the concerns of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regarding the amount of lead found in the public drinking water.
The emails that were released just this past weekend not only show that Snyder was already aware of the problem, but they also named the previously anonymous donors who gave 1,500 water filters to Flint while the city was insisting that the water was safe to drink. These donors were Meijer and Clorox.
Mark Murray, current co-CEO of Meijer and former state treasurer, agreed to donate the water filters, and later recruited Clorox as a co-donor. Clorox distributes water filters through their Brita division.
The governor’s office now admits that the state delivered water filters to ministers in the Flint city area to address the public’s concern over aesthetic water issues, such as smell and color, but not because the city believed that the water was in any way dangerous or that it contained deadly contaminants such as lead. However, the governor’s records show that his main spokesperson for the Flint water crisis, Harvey Hollins, was delivering the filters at the same time he was giving the reports about lead contamination in the city drinking water after the city switched its source of water from the Detroit water supply to the Flint River in April of 2014.
In fact it was Hollins who emailed Murray about possible water filter donations on July 23rd of 2015. In a later email, Hollins specifically requested a certain Brita water filter model, which is known to remove contaminants such as lead and other impurities, even though Hollins never actually used the word “lead” in his email.
It isn’t clear in the emails why Meijer and Clorox insisted on remaining anonymous. Frank Guglielmi, spokesperson for Meijer, stated that the company frequently donated items and materials to the community. He stated that they don’t usually publicize their involvement as they want the focus to be on the project at hand, not the donation.
Spokesperson for Clorox and Brita, David Kargas, stated that they simply responded to Meijer’s request for donations and that they were not involved in the decision, nor were they asked, about remaining anonymous.
Meijer has donated more than $500,000 to three non-profit organizations to bring relief to the citizens of Flint.
Source: Detroit Free Press