Snyder’s office releases 127K pages of Flint emails

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Gov. Rick Snyder’s office on Friday published more than 127,000 pages of emails from state departments related to Flint’s water contamination crisis in a massive late afternoon email dump.

The Flint water-related records come from the email accounts of employees in the state departments of Corrections, Natural Resources, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Michigan Civil Service Commission.

Snyder’s office has been voluntarily releasing thousands of pages of state records related to Flint’s water crisis to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests and ongoing civil litigation and criminal investigations.

“We are producing documents as requested for court investigations and FOIA requests, and then posting them to the website to be transparent about what we are sending out and allowing the public to look through everything themselves,” Snyder spokesman Ari Adler said.

The emails are available on the governor’s website for the public to download and read, along with past disclosures.

Thousands of the pages of emails appeared to be copies of the daily reports from the Lansing newsletters Gongwer News Service and Michigan Information & Research Service that state employees receive. The documents also included scores news clippings from other media outlets.

Those reports contained headlines about the Flint water crisis, including the late December resignation of Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant.

The records show directors of state agencies who had no hand in Flint’s water woes also received a Dec. 29 notice about Wyant’s resignation from Snyder’s chief of staff, Jarrod Agen.

The state’s records retention was far reaching, even in state agencies that had no connection to the regulation of Flint’s water or control of the city’s municipal government under Snyder-appointed emergency managers.

Jill Odell, the FOIA coordinator in the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, sent employees a “MANDATORY READ” email on Feb. 16 instructing them to scour their inboxes for any relevant records.

“Although the MLCC Directors have determined that we do not have records that are responsive to this request, we are required do a search in our Outlook accounts for any and all emails that mention Flint, Water, Lead, Copper, Legionella, and Legionnaire (this includes emails from Gongwer and MIRS),” Odell wrote.

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Twitter: @ChadLivengood