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Michigan will pay $600 million to children and families in Flint who were exposed to dangerous lead-contaminated drinking water in one of the nation’s worst public health disasters, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday.
In a statement, Whitmer (D) apologized to residents for the “uncertainty and troubles” they have endured since 2014 and acknowledged that the healing “will take a long time.”
“What happened in Flint should have never happened,” she said, “and financial compensation with this settlement is just one of the many ways we can continue to show our support for the city of Flint and its families.”
The settlement resolves a lengthy legal battle that began under her Republican predecessor, Rick Snyder, who was among the many public officials accused of ignoring or even denying the crisis in the poor, largely minority city of 95,000. The problems started almost immediately after Flint changed the source of its municipal water supply to save money, and they continued for nearly two years despite residents’ increasing complaints and concerns.