On Wednesday, August 17, 2016 the former Michigan attorney general filed a civil lawsuit against Veolia Water North America Operating Services (Veolia) which made baseless claims about the company’s work in Flint. Now the state’s newly elected attorney general is advancing additional groundless claims, once again relying on false information to fabricate a link between Veolia’s limited engagement and Flint’s circumstances.
The truth is, there is no such link. No amount of litigation will change the truth about who and what caused this tragic situation. It is clear that the people of Flint were the victims of callous and, indeed, criminal decision-making on the part of certain government officials.
The facts behind this case are important. They clearly show that during its limited assignment in time and scope, Veolia consistently acted responsibly and in good faith, and had no role whatsoever in causing this crisis.
-- The official report from the Flint Water Advisory Task Force, commissioned by the Governor's office and completed after dozens of interviews, contained no reference to Veolia and assigned the company no blame or responsibility for the current crisis.
-- A June 2015 EPA memorandum explained that Veolia's final report "provides advice to the City of Flint primarily focused on TTHM control and other operational issues" and was "written prior to the recent discovery of high lead results in Flint drinking water."
-- The EPA's Inspector General concluded that by June 2015, EPA "had the information it needed about the drinking water issues in Flint in June 2015 to exercise its discretionary authority to issue an emergency order" under the agency's statutory authority to address imminent and substantial endangerment to human health from drinking water contamination; EPA did not exercise that authority until June 2016.
Others have already pointed out the attorney general’s obvious conflict of interest in the Flint proceedings. All at the same time, the attorney general is prosecuting the government officials responsible for the Flint water crisis, representing and defending those same government officials in civil litigation, initiating claims against others, including Veolia, who were never identified as contributing to the cause of the crisis by the state’s official investigations.
Veolia remains committed to safe, high-quality drinking water and environmental protection.