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In an exclusive interview, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley spoke with Roland Martin, host of TV One’s NewsOne Now, about the origins of the Flint water crisis and his role in the man-made disaster.

Earley, joined by his lawyer, Attorney A. Scott Bolden, explained that the decision to switch Flint’s water supply to the Flint River and use services from the KWA Water Authority was made by the Flint City Council.

According to Earley, “There was consensus about the Flint River being used in the interim” while infrastructure was established to facilitate the switch from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) under former Emergency Manager Edward Kurtz.

Earley later added that Kurtz signed two emergency orders in 2013 “supporting the switch from DWSD to KWA and he signed an emergency order to improve the Flint water treatment plant for the purpose of using the Flint River in the interim.”

“The move to KWA meant you had to have an alternative water source for two years while the plant was being constructed, the consensus was because the Flint River had been used as a back-up water source for the 50 years of the DWSD contract and because prior to the DWSD contract, the Flint River had been the primary source of water for the City of Flint. It made sense as the option because they could not afford to not have resources to buy water from Detroit any longer,” said Earley.

Martin responded to Earley’s statement regarding the use of the Flint River as a water source, saying residents “knew for years water from the Flint River was bad” and asked, “So why did they decide to use water from the Flint River knowing full well it didn’t match the quality from Detroit?”

Earley replied, “The issues about the Flint River and its water quality is one of treatment and it is an issue that everyone has had to pretty much rely on the treatment experts — that would be the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency, and they at no time said that the water was not fit for consumption.”

Watch part one of Roland Martin’s exclusive interview with former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley in the video clip above.

Former Flint Emergency Manager Refuses To Assign Blame For The Flint Water Crisis

During the second part of Roland Martin’s exclusive interview with former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, Martin asked Early if he “would accept any responsibility or blame” for the Flint Water Crisis.

Earley responded to Martin’s direct question, saying, “There is responsibility there obviously, and certainly the leadership position you have responsibility, but you also depend on others to give you the information that you need, and I think the issues regarding the issue of the Flint water crisis are more of a treatment issue, instead of a leadership issue, from the standpoint of my role as an Emergency Manager.”

Later, Earley insisted the water from the Flint River was “safe to drink” per the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, despite the concerns being voiced by the community.

When asked if Gov. Rick Snyder should resign his position or be recalled as a result of the poisoning of an American city, Early said, “The Governor should stay and do what he can to fix this issue — he’s committed to that — I think it makes sense for him to be at the lead and the forefront of trying to fix this issue.”

“The idea of trying to find someone to say they’re responsible or that they are blamed for that doesn’t get us anywhere. What we need is people engaged in all levels — at the federal level, at the state level, at the local level, working to try and solve this issue,” said Earley.

He added, “That’s where our efforts should be. Not in terms of the political nature of what’s happened here, and he (Gov. Rick Snyder) is the best person, in my opinion, to fix this issue.”

Watch Roland Martin and former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley discuss the origins, as well as who is responsible for the Flint water crisis, in the video clip above.

TV One’s Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes. 


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