Judge considers extending Flint water agreement
A federal judge said Tuesday he is considering a 30-day extension to Flint’s short-term contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority to give the city council more time to approve a long-term drinking water source.
The city’s contract with the Detroit regional water system is set to end Oct. 1, but the extension would allow the water supply to continue for an additional 30 days.
Attorneys from the city of Flint and state have been in mediation trying to resolve their differences regarding the future of Flint’s drinking water on the orders of Detroit U.S. District Judge David Lawson.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality sued Flint in June, arguing the Flint city council’s refusal to approve a a 30-year agreement with the Great Lakes authority is endangering public health in the wake of a lead-contamination crisis that has largely been blamed on the state itself.
The deal would cost Flint $12.1 million a year. The state has argued that Flint has no feasible alternate water source.
Lawson said in court Tuesday that extending the contract beyond 30 days could result in funding problems, such as the issuance of bonds.
“It seems to me that inaction is inviting intervention,” Lawson said.
He scheduled another hearing for 2 p.m. Wednesday where the judge wants to discuss the option of a 30-day extension.
The lawsuit asks that the court “declare the City Council’s inaction will result in a violation of applicable” state and federal Safe Drinking Water laws and compel elected officials to enter into the Great Lakes authority agreement that Flint Mayor Karen Weaver negotiated.