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If you’ve been following the Flint water crisis, you’ll be relieved to hear that a significant step has been taken toward providing much-needed compensation for those affected by the disaster. A county judge has approved a massive $600 million settlement, marking the largest legal settlement in Michigan’s history.
Source: CBS Detroit/Youtube
In a statement released on Tuesday, Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) announced the approval, which comes more than two years after another court issued a preliminary approval. The settlement includes $600 million from the state of Michigan, $20 million from the city of Flint, $5 million from McLaren Regional Medical Center, and $1.5 million from Rowe Professional Services. Originally, McLaren’s contribution was set at $20 million, but no clarification on the change has been provided.
Judge Judith E. Levy of the Eastern District of Michigan gave the green light to the preliminary agreement in January 2021. The settlement allocates 80% of the net funds to individuals who were minors when exposed to the contaminated water in Flint. Another 18% is dedicated to claims from adults and property damage claims. An additional 2% will be directed toward special education services in Genesee County, and the remaining 8% will address business losses.
Though the settlement won’t undo the unimaginable hardships and devastating health effects that families and children in Flint have faced, Attorney General Nessel acknowledges that it does provide much-needed compensation for the injuries they’ve suffered. She commends her team for their tireless work on behalf of the people of Flint.
The Flint water crisis began in 2014 when state officials allowed the predominantly Black city to switch its drinking water source from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the Flint River. This disastrous decision led to the exposure of up to 12,000 children to lead-contaminated water. In addition, the water supply switch triggered a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak that claimed at least 12 lives.
Several officials, including former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R), faced criminal charges in connection with the crisis. However, a court later dropped charges against seven of the accused, including Snyder.
This monumental settlement is a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to address the consequences of the Flint water crisis. While no amount of money can truly make up for the suffering and long-term health issues experienced by the affected families, this compensation offers a glimmer of hope and provides some relief for the impacted community.
As we reflect on the Flint water crisis, let’s use this moment as a call to action. We must hold our government and institutions accountable for their decisions, particularly when it comes to providing safe and clean water for all citizens. By staying informed and advocating for Environmental justice, we can help prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future. Let’s work together to ensure that everyone has access to clean water and a healthy environment.
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