This handbook is intended to help policymakers and practitioners incorporate the lessons learned from this preventable disaster to avert and/or mitigate future crises. Specifically, it provides guidance for implementing several key, overarching recommendations produced through extensive research and analysis aimed at answering the following key legal question with respect to the Flint water crisis: Given the emergency manager’s appointment, what legal authority could state, local, and federal public health and environmental agencies use to avert or mitigate the crisis?
This primer addresses the purpose of emergency manager laws; how they operate; the emergency manager’s powers, duties and limitations; the role of citizens and elected officials while under emergency management; transition after emergency management; and the intersection of emergency manager laws with other laws.
A new report released by the Network for Public Health Law and the University of Michigan School of Public Health details why shortcomings in the structure and implementation of laws related to public health, safe drinking water, and emergency financial management failed to stop or mitigate the Flint water crisis. Along with key findings, the report provides recommendations to help prevent similar crises from happening in other communities.
In late 2015 and early 2016, a public health crisis involving contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, came to light. This horrible tragedy involves Flint residents’ exposure to toxic levels of lead in their drinking water over a prolonged period of time as well as a spike in Legionellosis after the city changed its primary water source to the Flint River in April 2014. This table summarizes legal theories underlying a number of civil lawsuits and other actions arising from the Flint water crisis.