FBI joins EPA in investigating Flint water crisis for criminal violations

FBI joins EPA in investigating Flint water crisis for criminal violations

FBI spokeswoman says agencys role is analyse the matter to determine if there have been any federal violations in lead contamination of drinking water

The FBI is working with a multi-agency squad analyse the lead contamination of Flints drinking water, alongside Environmental Protection Agency examiners who can tackle criminal violations of federal environmental statute, officials said Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, it was announced that Darnell Early, the state-appointed emergency director for Flint when its water source was switched, will leave his current role in Detroits troubled school district four-and-a-half months early.

A slew of local, country and federal officials have resigned since doctors uncovered last year that using the Flint River for the citys drinking water supply caused elevated levels of leading in some children blood. Lead contamination has been linked to learning disabilities and other problems. Michigans governor, Rick Snyder, has apologized repeatedly for the states role.

FBI spokeswoman Jill Washburn told the AP in an email that the agencys role is analyse the matter to determine if there have been any federal violations. She declined to say when the FBI got involved.

Officials havent said whether criminal or civil charges might follow the investigation.

In addition to the FBI and the EPA, the team includes the US postal inspection service, Gina Balaya, a US lawyers spokeswoman in Detroit, told The Associated Press in an email. The Detroit Free Press first reported the FBIs involvement Tuesday.

In November, the EPA announced it was auditing how Michigan enforces drinking water rules and said it would identify how to strengthen country oversight. The US lawyers office in Detroit said in January that it was investigating the water crisis with the EPA.

The federal investigation is one of several taking place into Flints water supply. Last month, Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette announced the appointment of a special advise to help its term of office investigate whether laws were transgressed.

An independent panel appointed by Snyder has determined that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was primarily responsible for the water contamination. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission also plans to hold hearings to explore whether the civil rights of Flint residents were violated.

Earley notified Snyder of his decision on Tuesday and said he had completed run ahead of his 18 -month schedule.

Snyder said Earley had done a good job under some very difficult circumstances.

Rolling teacher sick-outs in the Detroit public schools have forced dozens of schools to close intermittently in recent months.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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