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Governor's office close to finalizing bills to create Michigan's own 'lead/copper rule'

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Nearly a year after Governor Snyder first proposed it, a package of bills addressing lead in Michigan’s drinking water should soon be in the hands of state lawmakers.

Gov. Rick Snyder has repeatedly faulted the federal lead/copper rule and how it’s been interpreted for helping to create Flint’s lead tainted tap water crisis.

In the wake of testing showing Flint’s drinking water was contaminated with lead, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said Flint did not follow federal regulations for large water systems when its source of drinking water was switched to the Flint River in 2014.

Internal emails show staff in the department misinterpreted the federal Lead and Copper Rule applying to larger water systems, which are required to "maintain" corrosion control.

“We went through systemically, and we looked at the federal rules and what are they missing,” says Mike Zimmer, Gov. Snyder’s cabinet director, “How’s it been misinterpreted, how’s it’s been mishandled in Michigan,  and attempted to tightened all of those.”

Zimmer says it’s taken time to adjust the federal regulations into workable state laws.

“The federal regulations are hundreds of pages long,” says Zimmer. “So we’ve had to take those recommendations and turn them into Michigan statute, but we want to look at  each and every one of them and make sure we’re correcting the right piece.”

Zimmer expect a package of nine or ten bills will be submitted to state lawmakers by the end of the month.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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