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Detroit — A federal judge has ordered the state of Michigan and the city of Flint into mediation to try to resolve their differences regarding the future of Flint’s drinking water.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson on Tuesday appointed Troy-based attorney Paul Monicatti to facilitate an agreement between the city and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The department sued Flint in federal court in June, claiming the Flint city council’s refusal to approve a long-term deal to buy water from a Detroit-area system is endangering public health in the wake of a lead-contamination crisis that has largely been blamed on the state itself.

The Flint Journal reports the mediation order will not stop either side from filing pretrial motions or pursuing discovery in the lawsuit.

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